Excerpt:Â Ruth Bell Graham, the wife of evangelist Billy Graham, died today at the age of 87, according to a family spokesman.After battling pneumonia, she slipped into a coma yesterday at the couple's home in Montreat, N.C., where she was surrounded by her husband and five children. Spokesman Larry Ross said she died at 5:05 p.m. Eastern time. "Ruth was my life partner, and we were called by God as a team," Billy Graham said in a statement. "No one else could have borne the load that she carried. She was a vital and integral part of our ministry, and my work through the years would have been impossible without her encouragement and support.
"I am so grateful to the Lord that He gave me Ruth, and especially for these last few years we've had in the mountains together. We've rekindled the romance of our youth, and my love for her continued to grow deeper every day. I will miss her terribly, and look forward even more to the day I can join her in Heaven."