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Evangelist Billy Graham Discharged From North Carolina Hospital

Evangelist Billy Graham was released from the hospital Sunday and returned to his home in Montreat, N.C. after responding "very well" to five days of treatment for pneumonia, Mission Hospital announced.

"He has responded very well to treatment, with progressive improvement since his admission," said Dr. Lucian Rice, Graham's primary care physician, in a statement released by the hospital.

"We expect continuing recuperation at home with very gradual recovery, returning to normal activities over several weeks. I'm delighted that he has come back this fast."

The 92-year-old Graham, whose worldwide crusades and role as adviser to US presidents over the decades made him one of the best known religious figures of his time, was rushed to Mission Hospital in Asheville Wednesday after suffering a bout of pneumonia.

Rice noted that Graham had experienced no complications during his treatment. "It's a really encouraging sign," he said.

However, his physicians emphasized that while he has regained strength, his recovery would be slow.

As he left, Graham thanked the hospital staff and said, "The physicians and staff have shown such skill and compassionate care. I am deeply touched by the prayers and best wishes of so many people for me, and I look forward to returning home and resuming my normal activities soon."

A spokesperson for Graham, A. Larry Ross, said that while in the hospital, he had his usual weekly Bible study and prayer with his pastor, Dr. Don Wilton, and also received visits from one of his daughters and a grandchild, according to the hospital statement.

Earlier, Graham's overnight nurse at the hospital said he was "sharp as a tack" and recounted how he shared with her warm memories of her late grandfather, who had once worked for him.

Graham has met with every sitting US president from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama, serving as a religious counselor to many of them.

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