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US President George H.W. Bush dead at age 94

Former US President George H.W Bush has died aged 94, his son George W Bush announced.

In a statement Mr Bush’s son revealed his father’s passing today.

“Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear dad has died,” George W Bush wrote.

“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.”

media_cameraFormer president George H.W. Bush with his son former president George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush. Picture: AFP


His death follows that of his wife of 73 years, Barbara, who died aged 92 on April 17.

It was revealed at Barbara Bush’s funeral that George 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 was admitted back into hospital the day after Barbara’s funeral when an existing infection spread to his blood.

Bush also spent time at Southern Maine Health care in May after he experienced fatigue and low blood pressure. He was taken there after he met with other military veterans for a pancake breakfast at the American Legion Post 159 in Kennebunkport.

He had spent every summer in the seaside town since childhood, except during World War II while he was a naval aviator.

Bush was the patriarch of one of America’s most formidable political dynasties. Not only was he the 41st President of the United States, he served as Vice President under Ronald Reagan for two terms, from 1981 to 1989, and his eldest son George W Bush also attained the White House as the 43rd President. His second son, Jeb, was the first two-term Republican governor of Florida and was an unsuccessful contender for the GOP’s nomination for the presidency in 2016, losing to Donald Trump.


media_cameraTwo US presidents in waiting, George W Bush as an infant with father George HW Bush at Yale University. Supplied for extracts from the book ‘Decision Points’ by George W Bush, published by Virgin Books 2010. Picture: George Bush Presidential Library

Prior to his political career, Bush served in the US Navy as an aviator during the Second World War.

Following his discharge from the military, he obtained a degree in economics at Yale before moving to Texas and establishing his own oil company. He proved to be a successful businessman and was a millionaire by the age of 40.

Developing an interest in politics, Bush joined the Republican party in 1959 and a few years later ran an unsuccessful campaign for the US Senate.

In 1971, he was appointed by then President, Richard Nixon, as US ambassador to the United Nations. He continued to support Nixon when the Watergate Scandal broke in 1973, but as Chairman of the Republican National Committee he eventually asked Nixon to resign for the good of the party.

Bush then took on the role of director of the CIA in the mid 1970s.


media_cameraPower in the USA, 1980s style. George and Barbara Bush with Nancy and then President Ronald Reagan, pictured on January 21, 1985, at the start of Reagan’s second term in the White House. Picture: AP Photo/Bob Daugherty

In 1980, Bush became Vice President of the United States after losing the primaries to Ronald Reagan, who later won the general election. Together they served two terms in the White House.

In 1988, Bush ran for President, and won.

During his time as president, the Berlin Wall fell, the Soviet Union and communism collapsed, and the Cold War ended.

Bush’s actions after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait led to the destruction of Iraq’s armies and the restoration of Kuwait’s independence.

Bush’s popularity declined massively in 1990 after he broke a campaign promise not to raise taxes.

In 1992, Bush failed to be re-elected, losing to Bill Clinton. Eight years later, he helped his eldest son, George W Bush, become president by joining him on the campaign trail.


media_cameraGeorge H.W. Bush is sworn in as the new director of the CIA by Supreme Court Associate Justice Potter Stewart as Barbara Bush looks on, January 1976. Picture: AP Photo

Barbara Bush (nee Pierce) first met George H.W. Bush 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 the happiness of their 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 Barbara, wife of 73 years. He held her hand all day today and was at her side when she left this good Earth.”

media_cameraGeorge H.W. Bush wore socks patterned with a book motif to wife Barbara’s funeral in honour of her work promoting literacy. Picture: Paul Morse/Courtesy of Office of George H.W. Bush via AP


Recent years have seen the former president’s health decline, including a diagnosis of vascular Parkinsonism that has left him wheelchair bound.

In April 2017, Bush spent two weeks in hospital for treatment of pneumonia and chronic bronchitis, a constant irritation of the lining of tubes that carry air to one’s lungs. Bush’s doctors said chronic bronchitis is a condition more prevalent with age and can aggravate the symptoms of pneumonia. Bush was hospitalised for 16 days in January 2017 for pneumonia. During that hospital stay, which included time in intensive care, doctors inserted a breathing tube and connected him to a ventilator.

He also was hospitalised in 2015 in Maine after falling at home and breaking a bone in his neck, and in December 2014 for about a week for shortness of breath. He spent Christmas 2012 in intensive care for a bronchitis-related cough and other issues.

Last year, he was one of many men in power who faced allegations of sexual harassment. Several women came forward to make claims against Bush, with accusations dating as far back to 1992. A spokesman for Bush said he apologised for any offence caused and that any inappropriate touching was “unintentional”.

media_cameraGeorge H.W. Bush (centre) with (l-r) Laura and George W Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack and Michelle Obama and Melania Trump in a group photo at the funeral service for first lady Barbara Bush. Picture: Paul Morse/Courtesy of Office of George H.W. Bush via AP


1924: George Herbert Walker Bush born on June 12 in Massachusetts to parents Prescott Bush and Dorothy Walker Bush.

1941: Bush postpones his university studies to enlist in the US Navy following attacks on Pearl Harbor. He had just turned 18 and was the Navy’s youngest aviator at the time.

1944: Bush’s plane is hit by enemy fire but he manages to complete his mission before ejecting from the plane. He is eventually rescued by a submarine.

1945: In January, Bush marries Barbara Pierce. Later that year, he receives an honourable discharge after the end of World War II.

1946: George and Barbara have the first of their six children — George W Bush, who will later follow his father’s footsteps to the White House.

1948: Graduates from Yale University with a degree in economics after just two and a half years of study.

1951: Bush gets into the oil and petroleum business. His success leads him to becoming a millionaire.

1964: After taking on the role as Chairman of the Republican Party in Texas, Bush decides to run for a seat in the US Senate but is unsuccessful.

1966: Elected to the House of Representatives.

1971: Becomes the US ambassador to the United Nations.

1976: Takes on the role as the director of the CIA.

1980: Bush campaigns to be president but is beaten in the primaries by Ronald Reagan, who wins the Presidency. Reagan selects Bush to be his vice President.

1984: Reagan is re-elected and Bush continues to serves as vice president.

media_cameraUS Vice President George H.W. Bush reacts after he throws the ceremonial first pitch during the New York Mets season opener with the St. Louis Cardinals in April 1985. Picture: AP Photo/Ray Stubblebine

1988: Bush finally wins the Presidential election after beating Democrat Michael Dukakis at the polls, becoming the 41st President of the United States.

1990: Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against those who are disabled. It is considered one of the greatest achievements during his presidency. He also increases taxes, breaking his “no new taxes” campaign promise. The move sees him lose public support.

1992: Bush loses the election to Bill Clinton.

media_cameraPaul Keating and George HW Bush at Kirribilli House on 1 January 1992.

2000: Joins the campaign of his eldest son, George W. Bush, who is elected as president.

2005: Teams up with Bill Clinton to raise funds for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. They raise more than US$100 million within just a few months.

2011: President Barack Obama presents Bush with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

2012: Bush suffers health problems and is diagnosed with a form of Parkinson’s.

2017: Bush is accused of sexual harassment with allegations dating back to 1992.

2018: His wife of 73 years, Barbara, dies at home in Houston, aged 92.

Originally published as George H.W. Bush dead at 94

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