George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States, has died, after months of declining health. He was aged 94.
His death was announced by his family Friday night on Twitter.
“George Herbert Walker Bush, World War II naval aviator, Texas oil pioneer, and 41st President of the United States of America, died on November 30, 2018. He was 94 and is survived by his five children and their spouses, 17 grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, and two siblings,” the former president’s office said in a statement.
“He was preceded in death by his wife of 73 years, Barbara; his second child Pauline “Robin” Bush; and his brothers Prescott and William or “Bucky” Bush.”
His son George W. Bush, who served as the country’s 43rd president, released a statement of his own from the family.
“Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died,” George W. Bush said. “George H. W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.”
Bush was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital with a blood infection on April 22 — two days after the funeral for his wife of 73 years, former first lady Barbara Bush.
He is survived by his five children, including former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Bush was with there his wife when she died at the age of 92 on April 17.
“He of course is broken-hearted to lose his beloved Barbara, his wife of 73 years. He held her hand all day and was at her side when [she] left this good earth,” a statement from his office said after her death. “But it will not surprise all of you who know and love him, that he also is being stoic and strong, and is being lifted up by his large and supportive family.”
Mr. Bush had a form of Parkinson’s disease that forced him to use a wheelchair or motorized scooter in recent years, and he had been in and out of hospitals during that time as his health declined. In April, a day after attending Mrs. Bush’s funeral, he was treated for an infection that had spread to his blood. In 2013, he was in dire enough shape with bronchitis that former President George W. Bush, his son, solicited ideas for a eulogy.
But he proved resilient each time. In 2013 he told well-wishers, through an aide, to “put the harps back in the closet.”
Mr. Bush, a Republican, was a transitional figure in the White House, where he served from 1989 to 1993, capping a career of more than 40 years in public service. A decorated Navy pilot who was shot down in the Pacific in 1944, he was the last of the World War II generation to occupy the Oval Office.
Mr. Bush was a skilled bureaucratic and diplomatic player who, as president, helped end four decades of Cold War and the threat of nuclear engagement with a nuanced handling of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the liberation of Eastern Europe.
The elder Mr. Bush entered the White House with one of the most impressive résumés of any president. He had been a two-term congressman from Texas, ambassador to the United Nations, chairman of the Republican National Committee, United States envoy to China, director of the Central Intelligence Agency and vice president, under Ronald Reagan.
And he achieved what no one had since Martin Van Buren in 1836: winning election to the presidency while serving as vice president. (Van Buren did so in the footsteps of Andrew Jackson.)
A son of wealth and a graduate of Phillips Academy in Massachusetts and Yale, Mr. Bush was schooled in the good manners and graciousness of New England privilege and civic responsibility. He liked to frame his public service as an answer to the call to duty, like the one that had sent him over the Pacific and into enemy fire as a 20-year-old. (“The cockpit was full of smoke and I was choking from it,” he told his parents in a letter from the submarine that had plucked him from the sea.)
He underscored the theme of duty in accepting his party’s nomination for the presidency in 1988 in New Orleans. “I am a man who sees life in terms of missions — missions defined and missions completed,” he told Republican delegates in the Louisiana Superdome, acknowledging a swell of applause. He said he would “keep America moving forward” and strive “for a better America.”
“That is my mission,” he concluded, “and I will complete it.”
After his loss in 1992 to Mr. Clinton, in an election in which the billionaire independent candidate Ross Perot won almost a fifth of the vote, Mr. and Mrs. Bush repaired to their home in Houston and to their oceanfront compound in Kennebunkport, Me. By his own account the loss had left him dispirited and feeling humiliated. But he did not quite retire.
He celebrated several milestone birthdays, including his 90th, with parachute jumps. He traveled the globe on White House missions, joining Mr. Clinton to raise funds for the victims of the tsunami that ravaged Asia in 2004 and of Hurricane Katrina the next year.
Praise for former US president George H.W. Bush, poured in on Saturday after his death at 94 at his Houston home.
His son, former president George W. Bush said he “was a man of the highest character. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad.”
Former president Barack Obama said “George H.W. Bush’s life is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling. And he did tremendous good along the journey.”
President Donald Trump said: “Through his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country, President Bush inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service to be, in his words, “a thousand points of light” illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of America to the world.”
Former president Bill Clinton said he would “be forever grateful for the friendship we formed. From the moment I met him as a young governor invited to his home in Kennebunkport, I was struck by the kindness he showed to Chelsea, by his innate and genuine decency, and by his devotion to Barbara, his children, and their growing brood.”
James A. Baker III, secretary of state in the Bush administration, stated that “The legacy of George H.W. Bush will be forever etched in the history of America and the world. It is a lifelong record of selfless patriotic service to our nation.”
Brent Scowcroft, Bush’s national security adviser, lamented that “The world has lost a great leader; this country has lost one of its best; and I have lost one of my dearest friends. I am heartbroken.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said “Texans are genuinely honored that he called the Lone Star State home and we collectively grieve this monumental loss.”
In Kuwait, which was grateful to Bush for his intervention after Iraq invaded during the 1991 Gulf War, ruling emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah said the former president tried to “create a new international order based on justice and equality among nations.” He never “forgot the Kuwaiti people and will remain in their memory.”
Actress Marlee Matlin, who is deaf, tweeted: “Remembering President George H.W. Bush and the Americans With Disabilities Act. Millions with Disabilities and who are Deaf or HOH (hard of hearing)” have had their lives “changed for the better as a result of his signing this landmark legislation. My condolences to his entire family RIP #georgehwbush.”
Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile tweeted: “President George H.W. Bush was the real deal. We fought but he was gracious enough to accept my apology. Through his daughter Dorothy, my friends Ron Kaufman and Mary Matalin, I got to know him. Rest in Peace #georgehwbush.”
“I have often told my children, ‘If you want a role model in your life — look to President George Herbert Walker Bush,'” Dan Quayle said in a statement. “The world mourns the loss of a great American. But, it also celebrates a life well lived.”
German Chancellor Merkel on George H.W. Bush: “He was one of the fathers of the German unification, and we will never forget that.”
Speaker Ryan: “George H.W. Bush was a man for all seasons. He was great in his impact, making the world safer and freer. He was great in his character, leading with decency and integrity. A war hero and statesman, the country is inspired by his example.”
Vice President Mike Pence: “President Bush loved his family, loved this country and his legacy will be a lifetime of service to the United States of America … His example will always inspire and his lifetime of service will be enshrined in the hearts of the American people forever.”
Rep. Nancy Pelosi: “George H.W. Bush’s life was defined by an inspiring commitment to public service. I am deeply grateful to his family for having shared such a wonderful man with us all. May it be a comfort to them to know that so many Americans mourn with them.”
Chuck Schumer: “President George H.W. Bush will be greatly missed … He was a fine man and even when he opposed your views, you knew he was doing what he thought was best for America. His yearning for a kinder and gentler nation seems more needed now than when he first called for it.”
Mitch McConnell: “George Bush built his life on the premise that loving and serving America was simply a citizen’s duty. He fulfilled that duty time and time again, as completely as anyone could. His legacy will rank among the most distinguished statesmen our nation has ever produced.”
Former President Jimmy Carter: “Deeply saddened by the death of former President H.W. Bush … He espoused a uniquely American volunteer spirit, fostering bipartisan support for citizen service and inspiring millions to embrace community volunteerism as a cherished responsibility.”
Former CIA Director Brennan: “George H.W. Bush led a life of exemplary public service, integrity, and determination—in WWII, in Congress, as UN Ambassador, Envoy to China, CIA Director, and as Vice President & President. A life very well lived; an American who made us all proud”
National Security Adviser Bolton: “His leadership guided the US through some of the most tumultuous times in recent history, including the breakup of the Soviet Union & expelling Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. It was an honor to serve in his Administration.”
“Fair winds and following seas, Sir. We have the watch,” US Navy tweets following President George H.W. Bush’s death. Bush joined the Navy just out of high school, becoming one of the service’s youngest aviators, and saw considerable action in the Pacific during WWII.
President Trump and First Lady will attend George H.W. Bush’s funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.; Trump to designate Dec. 5 as a National Day Of Mourning; Trump is scheduled to speak with President George W. Bush this morning, White House says.
Image: Mr. Bush boarding Marine One en route to Camp David in January 1993.