George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States and the father of the 43rd died on Friday. He was 94.The announcement of his passing was made in a statement by his son, former President George W. Bush.
“Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro and I are saddened to announced that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died,” his son said in a statement released Friday night.
Grandson George P. Bush said on Twitter Friday night, “He was more than a great man; he was a good man. His courage was matched by his compassion; and his dedication to country was equaled only by his devotion to his family.”
One of the most experienced public servants in U.S. history, Bush served two terms as vice president under Ronald Reagan before becoming president in 1989, capping off a career that included stints as director of the CIA and U.S. ambassador to China and the U.N. in the 1970s.
His death comes just months after his wife of 73 years and revered first lady, Barbara Bush died.
It was revealed at Barbara’s funeral in April that her husband had been hospitalised at the same time as her.
“I think Dad got sick on purpose so that he could be with her,” Jeb Bush said during his eulogy to his mother.
George Senior was admitted back into hospital the day after Barbara’s funeral when an existing infection spread to his blood.
He also spent time at Southern Maine Health care in May after he experienced fatigue and low blood pressure.
In 2012, he announced that he had vascular Parkinsonism, a condition that limited his mobility.
Barbara first met George Snr when she was 17 years old and they married in January 1945, when she was 19.
They had six children and were married longer than any presidential couple in American history.
The Bushes were renowned for having a happy marriage, which was underscored with gentle good humour.
George Jr revealed that a “crowning achievement” of his father, who was fond of coming up with nicknames for friends and family, was anointing Barbara, “The Silver Fox” in honour of her snowy white hair.
Upon her death, a spokesman for George Sr said he was “broken-hearted to lose his beloved wife of 73 years. He held her hand all day today and was at her side when she left this good Earth.”
He had a competitive nature and considerable ambition that were not easy to discern under the sheen of his New England politesse and his earnest generosity. He was capable of running hard-edge political campaigns, and took the nation to war. But his principal achievements were produced at negotiating tables.
“When the word moderation becomes a dirty word, we have some soul searching to do,” he wrote a friend in 1964, after losing his first bid for elective office.
Despite his grace, Mr. Bush was an easy subject for caricature. He was an honors graduate of Yale University who was often at a loss for words in public, especially when it came to talking about himself. Though he was tested in combat when he was barely out of adolescence, he was branded “a wimp” by those who doubted whether he had essential convictions.
This paradox in the public image of Mr. Bush dogged him, as did domestic events. His lack of sure-footedness in the face of a faltering economy produced a nosedive in the soaring popularity he enjoyed after the triumph of the Persian Gulf War. In 1992, he lost his bid for a second term as president.
“It’s a mixed achievement,” said presidential historian Robert Dallek. “Circumstances and his ability to manage them did not stand up to what the electorate wanted.”