(WVLT) - Local religious leaders are reacting to the death of Ruth Graham, the wife of evangelist Billy Graham.
Ruth Graham died Thursday just after 5:00pm, with her husband and five children by her side.
She had been bed ridden for several months and slipped into a coma yesterday.
In a statement, Billy Graham says his wife was a vital part of their ministry and that he looks forward to one day joining her in heaven.
Local pastors say it is a great loss for all of us.
"His outreach and appeal, she was right there with him step by step, so it's a wonderful couple and we are deeply, deeply grieved," says Rev. John Pennington, Junior, from West Hills Baptist Church.
"There's no question that she will be missed, as far as their family is concerned, as far as the U.S. is concerned, and as far as the whole world is concerned," says Rev. Charles Sanderfur from New Vision Fellowship Church.
"It came as a surprise, it seemed she was having a valiant fight trying to fight the coma, but obviously she's gone home now to be with the Lord," says Rev. A.D. Baxter with Crossroads Christian Church.
Ruth Graham's funeral will be held Saturday afternoon at the Montreat Conference center, near the couple's North Carolina home.