Former President George Herbert Walker Bush has died.
The veteran politician, who served as the United States’ 41st president from 1989 to 1993, died on Friday, his office confirms. He was 94.
Bush’s son, former president George W. Bush, released a statement on behalf of his family, reading: “Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died. 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.”
President Donald Trump and Former President Barack Obama also released statements on Bush’s passing.
Other luminaries took to Twitter to shared their condolences:
Bush’s death comes shortly after the passing of his wife of 73 years, former First Lady Barbara Bush, who died on April 17 following the announcement that she had decided to forego further medical treatments for her failing health and spend her remaining days with family.
The former president laid to rest his late wife on April 21, at a funeral ceremony held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas.
The funeral was attended by all living former presidents, including their son George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as former first ladies Laura Bush, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama.
First Lady Melania Trump also came out to pay respects on behalf of herself and President Donald Trump, who chose not to attend to “avoid disruptions due to added security, and out of respect for the Bush family and friends attending the service.”
The day after the funeral, Bush was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital “after contracting an infection that spread to his blood,” according to an official statement released by Bush’s office on April 23.
Bush was born on June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts, and was formally educated at the Phillips Academy in Andover, a private college-preparatory high school where he shined in key leadership positions within his class.
In 1942, Bush enlisted in the U.S. Navy immediately upon graduation from high school, in order to serve his country during World War II, where he became a naval aviator. Throughout the course of the war, Bush flew over 58 combat missions, rising to the rank of Lieutenant, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, an Air Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation.
Bush was honourably discharged following Japan’s unconditional surrender in August 1945.
Before going off to war, Bush struck up a romance with his future wife, and the two tied the knot in January 1945, just after he returned home from the Pacific theater. Soon after, he began attending Yale University.
During his time in college, Bush studied economics, was elected president of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He graduated with a BA in economics in 1948, and struck out to make his future in the oil business, with help from his family’s business connections.
Bush’s entree into the political world came in 1963 when he was elected chairman of the Harris County Republican Party in Texas, where he’d moved his family during his years making millions in the oil industry.
After a failed run for a U.S. Senate seat in Texas in 1964, Bush was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1966, where he served as the representative of Texas’ 7th district for two terms.
Following his time in Congress, Bush was selected for a number of key government positions, including the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under President Richard Nixon from 1971 to 1973, and later the Chair of the Republican National Committee amid the infamous Watergate scandal.
While Bush was a staunch defender of Nixon during the initial investigation, he eventually became the man who asked the disgraced president to resign, in an effort to save the Republican party further embarrassment.
After President Gerald Ford’s succession, following Nixon’s resignation, Bush was appointed to the role of Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office to the People’s Republic of China — a position he held for just over a year, until December 1975. One month later, Ford made Bush the Director of Central Intelligence.
In 1980, Bush set his sights on the White House, but was unable to secure his party’s nomination. The Republican National Committee instead nominated Ronald Regan, who chose Bush as his running mate. Regan won the national election, defeating the incumbent Democratic candidate, President Jimmy Carter. Bush ended up serving as Reagan’s vice president for all eight years the charismatic former movie star remained in the White House.
In 1988, Bush achieved his decades-long ambition of becoming president when he beat out Democratic challenger Michael Dukakis. This marked the first time a sitting vice president had been elected president since 1837, when President Martin Van Buren was elected after serving under President Andrew Jackson.
Bush made one of his most well-known remarks during his acceptance speech at the 1988 Republican National Convention, when he famously told the American people, “Read my lips — no new taxes.”
Bush’s time in office saw a great deal of international upheaval and instability — from the continuing dissolution of the Soviet Union to Saddam Hussein’s aggression against Kuwait, leading to the first gulf war — at the time, he was hailed for his deft international diplomacy.
However, economic woes at home lead to dissatisfaction with his presidency among American voters, and his bid to win re-election came up short during the 1992 campaign against Clinton.
In 2000, Bush’s son, George W. Bush, succeeded Clinton as the 43rd president, a position he held for two full terms.
In 2011, Bush was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
Unfortunately, the former president began struggling with serious health problems in his later years. In 2012, it was revealed that he was struggling with vascular parkinsonism, which required him to use a wheelchair.
He also suffered from multiple bouts of pneumonia in January 2017, and again in April 2017.
Bush is survived by his five children ± including the former president, former Governor of Florida John Ellis “Jeb” Bush, Neill Bush, Marvin Bush, and daughter Dorothy Walker Bush. He and his late wife were also parents to daughter Pauline Bush, who died of leukemia at the age of 3 in 1953.