Former President George H.W. Bush has died at age 94 just months after his beloved wife Barbara.
The cause of the death of the longest-living president in U.S. history—at his home in Houston, Texas on Friday night, November 30--wasn't immediately available. However, George had announced in 2012 that he had vascular Parkinsonism, a condition that limited his mobility.
Barbara had died at age 92 on April 17. Before her passing, she had decided not to seek further medical treatment for congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
George and "Barb" had a long love story. The afternoon before Barbara's funeral on April 21, at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, fragile, wheelchair-bound George sat for 20 minutes before her flower-laden coffin and accepted condolences from thousands who lined up to honor his wife. During the service, George looked devastated and fragile as he sat in the audience listening to the eulogy. About a month after Barbara's passing, he was hospitalized in Maine after experiencing low blood pressure and fatigue.
George and his wife had six children, including George W. Bush, who became U.S. President number 43. Another son, Jeb, ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2016. George Sr. and Barbara's daughter Robin tragically died of leukemia at the age of 3.
On Saturday, the former president's granddaughter and Today show contributor Jenna Bush Hager, 37, shared an emotional post on Instagram, writing, "Waking up missing this giant of a man who gave me everything. He taught me and my family about service, family, decency, the power of gentle words and a beautiful heart. I will miss him desperately but so happy he and my Grandmother are back together."
Hager noted, "I had the opportunity to talk with my grandpa about the afterlife. This is what he said: He answered without any hesitation. “Yes, I think about it. I used to be afraid. I used to be scared of dying. I used to worry about death. But now in some ways I look forward to it.” And I started crying. I managed to choke out, “Well, why? What do you look forward to?” And he said, “Well, when I die, I’m going to be reunited with these people that I’ve lost.” And I asked who he hoped to see. He replied, I hope I see Robin, and I hope I see my mom. I haven’t yet figured it out if it will be Robin as the three year old that she was, this kind of chubby, vivacious child or if she’ll come as a middle-aged woman, an older woman. And then he said, “I hope she’s the three-year-old.” Robin was the daughter this giant of a man lost years before to leukemia. The little girl he held tightly: who spoke the phrase I have heard Gampy repeat for my entire life, forever knitting Robin’s voice into the tightly woven fabric of our family: “I love you more than tongue can tell.”
To George Sr.'s joy, Hager's twin sister Barbara, the namesake of George Sr.'s wife, got married to screenwriter Craig Coyne in an intimate wedding on October 7.
But now the entire Bush family is in mourning after their patriarch's death.
Karl Rove, former senior adviser to his son, George W., recalled of the late leader, "He was a gracious man—kind, gentle, smart, courageous….The most qualified person to ever become President of the United States."
Rove recalled tearfully of his last visit with George, "His body was failing, but the mind and person were there. He was funny, alert, he wanted to talk politics; he wanted gossip, the more salacious the better. He had a great sense of humor."
Although George only served one presidential term from 1989 to 1993, then being defeated by Bill Clinton, he said in an interview about his legacy, "I have no regrets. I did my best." A state funeral is being arranged; all of America's political elites are expected to attend.
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