Ruth Graham, the wife of American Christian evangelist Billy Graham, has died at the age of 87.
The preacher's office said Ruth Graham died Thursday evening, one day after slipping into a coma, at her home in the southern U.S. town of Montreat, North Carolina, with her husband and five children at her side.
Mrs. Graham had been in frail health since suffering spinal meningitis in 1995.
In a statement, Billy Graham said Ruth was his life partner, and that he felt the two of them were called by God to work as a team. The evangelist said his wife was such an integral part of his ministry that his work would not have been possible without her support.
President Bush says he and First Lady Laura Bush are deeply saddened by Ruth Graham's death. Mr. Bush says she was a remarkable woman of faith who inspired people around the world with her kindness.
Billy Graham and his wife traveled the world for decades, building a revival-based Christian ministry that reached millions of people.
Ruth Graham grew up in China as the daughter of missionary doctors, and attended high school in what is now North Korea. She met Billy Graham at Wheaton College in the midwestern U.S. state of Illinois, and they married in 1943.
The Grahams disclosed earlier this year that they intend to be buried next to each other at the recently dedicated Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina.