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Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood and more celebrate the life of Rev. Billy Graham Instagram/@wruckestrike

Early morning talk shows broke the sad news. The legendary Southern Baptist minister and evangelist, Dr. Reverend Billy Graham, had passed away at the age of 99 at his North Carolina home.

In his obituary, it was estimated that Rev. Graham, who preferred to be referred to as “Billy,” had delivered the gospel to over 200 million people at more than 400 of his Crusades and rallies. He had carried the word of God to more than 185 countries and had written nearly three dozen books.

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Of course, there would be members of the country music and NASCAR communities who would have been touched by the words of the reverend. And upon hearing the news of his passing, they took to social media to share their thoughts and offer up their sympathies over this heartbreaking loss.

Reba McEntire shared a compelling photo of the minister, his head bowed in prayer, and wrote, “Billy Graham. What an incredible life you had. Thanks for all your guidance and love. #angelssinginginheaven”

Carrie Underwood learned the news of Dr. Graham’s passing on Twitter and replied to contemporary Christian singer David Crowder’s post, which quoted the minister: “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now, I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” Carrie replied, simply, “Amazing … Rest in the arms of the Lord. Surely right now He is saying ‘Well done, my son.’”

Carrie’s husband, Nashville Predator’s hockey star, Mike Fisher, also posted a photo on Instagram and remarked, “He preached with boldness and truth and [led] countless people to a relationship with Jesus. It’s incredible to see how God used him to change the world.”

Charlie Daniels, who often quotes scripture on his social media timeline, shared a triumphant post on Twitter. “Just got the word that Billy Graham has passed at the age of 99,” he wrote. “What joy there must be in Heaven this morning as this good and faithful servant enters into the joy of His Lord. You were one of a kind Sir, and this world will not be the same place without you.”

For the legendary Tanya Tucker, the loss was particularly difficult as Billy had been a source of comfort when her own father was ill. She shared a photo of a younger minister and remembered, “I recall a few years ago my Dad was very ill and I called his office and asked that he pray for him. He did! I wanted to thank him so I went in the studio and recorded ‘Old Rugged Cross’ and sent him a CD that was a small gift I gave to him. It was a much grander gift that he gave to me and millions of people around the world.”

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My heart is heavy this AM on my bus somewhere in Oklahoma at the passing of the greatest preacher (teacher) in our world Billy Graham. I recall a few years ago my Dad was very ill and I called his office and asked that he pray for him HE DID! I wanted to thank him so I went in the studio and recorded OLD RUGGED CROSS and sent him a CD that was a small gift I gave to him. It was a much grander gift that he gave to me and millions of people around the world. I remember watching him growing up, how he always touched me, inspired me with his words and his devout love of Christ. It's hard to imagine this world without him in it. My tears are flowing and even though I know where he has gone, it's so hard to let him go. This old world needs him more than ever now! I only regret that I didn't get the chance to meet him, shake his hand and say thank you Mr. Graham. And riding down the road somewhere in Oklahoma I get a feeling that someday I'm gonna get that chance! My thoughts are with all the Graham family for their loss! We all lost this morning! God Bless him and God Help Us!

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Rodney Atkins also shared an image of Rev. Graham on his Instagram, but very honestly admitted to his own shortcomings. “Even when I’ve questioned my own faith, I’ve never questioned it when Billy Graham spoke,” he wrote. “Thank you for the message you not only spoke but lived. #Amen”

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Big & Rich’s Big Kenny Alphin, who was brought up by a Baptist church deacon, thanked the late minister by quoting him. “‘It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.’ -Reverend Billy Graham,” he wrote. “Today we say farewell to a great man, a humble servant and true believer in love without prejudice. Thanks for sharing and inspiring that love in all of us!”

And, sadly, Ricky Skaggs learned of Billy Graham’s passing while his was having his morning prayers. In a post on Instagram, he recalled how his daughter Molly gave her life to Christ during one of Billy’s iconic Crusades. “The first thing I did was to thank God for sending Billy Graham into this world,” he said. “My youngest daughter Molly gave her life to Jesus watching him on TV during one of his Crusades. It’s a story of millions of people just like Molly that came to Christ listening to Dr. Graham’s simple message of God’s love and forgiveness.”

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I was up early this morning having my prayer time and Bible reading when I heard the news of Dr. Graham's passing. The first thing I did was to thank God for sending Billy Graham into this world. My youngest daughter Molly gave her life to Jesus watching him on TV during one of his Crusades. It's a story of millions of people just like Molly that came to Christ listening to Dr. Graham's simple message of God's love and forgiveness. There has never been an evangelist in our lifetime that has had the Christian integrity in ministry that Dr. Graham had. It was because he lived his life intentionally to honor Christ. He had righteous Godly men around him all the time, praying for him and praying with him everyday. He set up safeguards for his life as a husband, a father, and his life as a minister of the gospel. His ministry reflected his personal life and his personal life reflected his ministry. What a concept! He was above reproach, and he lived there always, because he never wanted to give anyone the slightest hint of doubt that he wasn't who he said he was. His desire, first and foremost, was to honor the Lord Jesus Christ with his whole heart. He knew who he was and he knew Whose he was. He knew he was a beloved son, yet calling himself a sinner. Hard to imagine, but humility will do that to you. He believed the words of John the Baptist, when John said of Jesus, 'He must increase and I must decrease,' great words to live by. I'm so thankful that I got know Dr. Graham and do some of his Crusades. The first one I did was in Columbus, Ohio at a baseball field. I was up on stage singing some songs and it was pouring down the rain, big sheets of rain. I thought, all these people will go home, no one could sit through this storm, but no one left, some had umbrellas but most of them didn't. Then all of a sudden, I looked and they were bringing Dr. Graham toward the stage in a covered golf cart, it stopped raining, it completely stopped. I knew then the favor of the Lord was on this man. I'm so grateful for the friendships I've made with the Graham family. Franklin is one of my dearest friends.

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As the day went on, many country stars and NASCAR drivers, including Josh Turner, RaeLynn and Brad Keselowski, shared their thoughts on this iconic figure who just delivered his final message on his 95th birthday.

Dr. Rev. Billy Graham is survived by five children who have all followed a calling into the ministry. His beloved wife, Ruth, passed away in 2007. They were married for 64 years.

Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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