(Photo: BGEA / Russ Busby, File)
Popular evangelist Billy Graham, who was hospitalized on Nov. 30 after having been diagnosed with pneumonia, was released Tuesday from the North Carolina hospital where he was admitted and plans to spend the Christmas holidays at home.
Graham returned to his Montreat, N.C, home in the afternoon after a six-day stay at nearby Mission Hospital in Asheville.
“I am grateful for the many thoughts and prayers expressed by individuals across the country and around the world during my stay at Mission Hospital,” he said in a statement upon discharge. “I also appreciated the wonderful treatment I received here from such caring doctors and nurses, and feel I have made some new friends. But I am especially looking forward to seeing my home decorated for Christmas and spending the holidays with members of my family.”
“We are gratified that he has had a good response to treatment and we’re committed to good home care to continue his improvement,” the 93-year-old evangelist’s personal physician, Lucian Rice, MD said Tuesday.
Graham’s staff confirmed he will continue physical therapy at home, with the goal of returning to normal activities in the coming weeks.
The staff has also said in a statement that Graham will be working on another writing project, which summarizes “the message he has proclaimed for more than 60 years, incorporating thoughts and discussions on that topic that occurred during his hospitalization.”
Last month saw the release of Graham’s latest book, Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well, in which the evangelist writes, “I can’t truthfully say that I have liked growing older.”
Pulmonologist Mark Hellrich, M.D., a physician for Graham, said the evangelist has made good clinical progress in combating the pneumonia in his steady response to antibiotics, first intravenously and then following his improvement, transitioning to oral medication. Graham also demonstrated increased strength and mobility, the physician said.
Previously, Graham was hospitalized for treatment of pneumonia in May 2011. Despite health issues, he continued to minister.
Graham is a popular public figure who has spent personal time with 12 U.S. presidents, including Barack Obama. Recently, he was nominated to have his image appear on a U.S. postage stamp, next to such candidates as President Obama, Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey.
Graham says God has a specific reason for keeping each person alive, and all, irrespective of their age, should strive to find out what His purpose is for these years, and how they can align their lives with it.