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ASHEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — Evangelist Billy Graham went home from the hospital early Sunday afternoon, according to a statement from his publicist. Rev. Graham had spent five days at Mission Hospital in Asheville for treatment for pneumonia.

According to the statement, Graham’s physicians say his response to treatment for pneumonia has been excellent, and that he has regained strength, but emphasized that his recovery will be gradual.

“He has responded very well to treatment, with progressive improvement since his admission,” said Lucian Rice, MD, Graham’s primary care physician. “We expect continuing recuperation at home with very gradual recovery, returning to normal activities over several weeks. I’m delighted that he has come back this fast.”

Dr. Rice noted that Graham had experienced no complications as of his discharge.

“It’s a really encouraging sign,” Rice said.

Upon leaving, Rev. Graham thanked the hospital staff for the care they have given him.

“I am grateful for this wonderful hospital so close to my home,” Graham said. “The physicians and staff have shown such skill and compassionate care. I am deeply touched by the prayers and best wishes of so many people for me, and I look forward to returning home and resuming my normal activities soon.”

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