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Billy Graham is released from hospital

Billy Graham, who was hospitalized Tuesday for respiratory tests and observation, was released and returned to his Montreat home Thursday.

Graham, who turned 95 two weeks ago, “was alert and in good spirits during his stay,” said Dr. William Hathaway, chief medical officer at Mission Hospital in Asheville. “We were pleased with the results of Mr. Graham’s evaluation.”

Throughout the past year, the Charlotte-born evangelist has remained in generally good health, the hospital said in a Thursday news release.

In interviews, son Franklin Graham and daughter Anne Graham Lotz, both evangelists like their father, have said Billy Graham has physical maladies common to people of his advanced age. He is frail, cannot hear or see well, and arrives at his rare public appearances in a wheelchair. But they have said his mind is still sharp.

The elder Graham was last admitted to the hospital on Oct. 22 for a precautionary pulmonary test. He was back at home by Oct. 24.

He was also admitted to Mission Hospital in May 2011 with an illness diagnosed as pneumonia and in August 2012 with bronchitis.

A 95th birthday party for Graham, held Nov. 7 at the Omni Grove Park Inn, drew more than 800 people, including several celebrities. Among them: former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, real estate tycoon Donald Trump, TV host Kathie Lee Gifford, pastor-author Rick Warren, musician Ricky Skaggs and media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

In connection with his 95th birthday, the one-time pastor to presidents and globe-trotting evangelist also offered what could be his final public message in a 28-minute video.

In “The Cross” video, Graham called for a new spiritual awakening in America. The video has now been shown on the Fox News network, on about 500 local TV stations and in the homes of members of more than 25,000 churches around the country.

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