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U.S. Christian broadcaster Paul Crouch dies aged 79

(Reuters) - Paul Crouch, the U.S. televangelist who founded one of the world's largest Christian broadcasting networks, died on Saturday at age 79.

Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) - the company he set up with his wife Jan - beamed Christian programs over 84 satellite channels and more than 18,000 television and cable affiliates, according to its website.

Crouch left his job as general manager of a San Bernardino, California, broadcaster in 1973, then bought and expanded a California television station.

TBN went on to broadcast over, among others, Smile of a Child children's channel, The Church Channel, TBN Asia, TBN Europe, TBN Russia, TBN Africa, Al-Horreya TV and Arabic language network and TBN Nejat TV, a Farsi language channel.

His books included "I Had No Father but God," "Hello World," "Omega Code," "Megiddo" and "The Shadow of the Apocalypse."

"His passing followed a decade-long fight with degenerative heart disease," TBN said on its website.

(This story has been refiled to remove extraneous word in third paragraph)

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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