CHARLOTTE, N.C.(AP) – George Beverly Shea, the booming baritone
who sang to millions of Christians at evangelist Billy Graham’s crusades,
died Tuesday after a brief illness.
Spokesman Brent Rinehart of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
said Shea died in Asheville after a brief illness.
Shea was well-known as a gospel soloist before he and Graham met in
the early 1940s. He joined Graham’s crusade team in 1947 and stayed
until Graham’s declining health ended most of the evangelist’s public
appearances nearly 60 years later.
Besides his distinctive voice, Shea was known for his trademark rendition
of "How Great Thou Art" and his inspirational "The Wonder of It All." He
performed live before an estimated 200 million at crusades over the years
and recorded more than 70 albums.
Graham said at Shea’s 100th birthday celebration in February 2009 that
he couldn’t have had a ministry without Shea.