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Former US President George HW Bush dies at age 94

Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94.

Family spokesman Jim McGrath says Bush died shortly after 10 pm on Friday night in the US, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara Bush.

The nation’s 41st president served from 1989 to 1993, and eight years later watched his son George W. became the 43rd president.

George H. W. Bush, right, and George W. Bush before a Houston Texans NFL football game.George H. W. Bush, right, and George W. Bush before a Houston Texans NFL football game.
Camera IconGeorge H. W. Bush, right, and George W. Bush before a Houston Texans NFL football game.Picture: AP

The elder Bush saw his popularity swell with the United States’ success in the Gulf War in 1991, only to watch it evaporate in a brief but deep recession.

The Republican was defeated in his bid for a second term by Democrat Bill Clinton.

Bush had also been a World War II hero, Texas congressman, CIA director and Ronald Reagan’s vice president.

The son of a senator and father of a president, Bush was the man with the golden resume who rose through the political ranks: from congressman to UN ambassador, Republican Party chairman to envoy to China, CIA director to two-term vice president under the hugely popular Ronald Reagan.

The 1991 Gulf War stoked his popularity. But Bush would acknowledge that he had trouble articulating “the vision thing,” and he was haunted by his decision to break a stern, solemn vow he made to voters: “Read my lips. No new taxes.”

FILE - In this March 29, 2015, file photo, former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush, left, speak before a college basketball regional final game between Gonzaga and Duke, in the NCAA basketball tournament in Houston. A family spokesman said Sunday, April 15, 2018, that the former first lady Barbara Bush is in "failing health" and won't seek additional medical treatment. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)FILE - In this March 29, 2015, file photo, former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush, left, speak before a college basketball regional final game between Gonzaga and Duke, in the NCAA basketball tournament in Houston. A family spokesman said Sunday, April 15, 2018, that the former first lady Barbara Bush is in "failing health" and won't seek additional medical treatment. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
Camera IconFILE – In this March 29, 2015, file photo, former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush, left, speak before a college basketball regional final game between Gonzaga and Duke, in the NCAA basketball tournament in Houston. A family spokesman said Sunday, April 15, 2018, that the former first lady Barbara Bush is in “failing health” and won’t seek additional medical treatment. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

He lost his bid for re-election to Bill Clinton in a campaign in which businessman H. Ross Perot took almost 19 percent of the vote as an independent candidate.

Still, he lived to see his son, George W., twice elected to the presidency – only the second father-and-son chief executives, following John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

George Herbert Walker Bush was born June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts, into the New England elite, a world of prep schools, mansions and servants seemingly untouched by the Great Depression.

His father, Prescott Bush, the son of an Ohio steel magnate, made his fortune as an investment banker and later served 10 years as a senator from Connecticut.

This file photo provided by Office of George H. W. Bush shows a photo of former President George H.W. Bush that was tweeted on Friday, June 1, 2018, from his hospital bed while reading a book about himself and his late wife in Biddeford, Maine. Bush is celebrating his 94th birthday in Maine. He is relaxing at his home in Kennebunkport on Tuesday, June 12, eight days after being released from the hospital where he was treated for low blood pressure. (Paul Morse/Office of George H. W. Bush via AP, File)This file photo provided by Office of George H. W. Bush shows a photo of former President George H.W. Bush that was tweeted on Friday, June 1, 2018, from his hospital bed while reading a book about himself and his late wife in Biddeford, Maine. Bush is celebrating his 94th birthday in Maine. He is relaxing at his home in Kennebunkport on Tuesday, June 12, eight days after being released from the hospital where he was treated for low blood pressure. (Paul Morse/Office of George H. W. Bush via AP, File)
Camera IconThis file photo provided by Office of George H. W. Bush shows a photo of former President George H.W. Bush that was tweeted on Friday, June 1, 2018, from his hospital bed while reading a book about himself and his late wife in Biddeford, Maine. Bush is celebrating his 94th birthday in Maine. He is relaxing at his home in Kennebunkport on Tuesday, June 12, eight days after being released from the hospital where he was treated for low blood pressure. (Paul Morse/Office of George H. W. Bush via AP, File)

George H.W. Bush enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday in 1942, right out of prep school. He returned home to marry his 19-year-old sweetheart, Barbara Pierce, daughter of the publisher of McCall’s magazine, in January 1945. They were the longest-married presidential couple in U.S. history. She died on April 17, 2018.

Lean and athletic at 188cm tall, Bush became a war hero while still a teenager. One of the youngest pilots in the Navy, he flew 58 missions off the carrier USS San Jacinto.

He had to ditch one plane in the Pacific and was shot down on Sept. 2, 1944, while completing a bombing run against a Japanese radio tower.

An American submarine rescued Bush. His two crewmates perished. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery.

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