WASHINGTON — Seven months after losing the love of his life, President George H.W. Bush, the 41st commander in chief and a World War II hero, passed away today at age 94.
Bush’s longtime spokesman, Jim McGrath, said the former aviator, oilman, ambassador, CIA director and vice president died at 10:10 p.m. Central time. He is survived by five children, 17 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and two siblings. His wife of 73 years passed away in April.
McGrath said funeral arrangements would be announced “as soon as it is practical.”
“Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died,” former President George W. Bush said in a statement. “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.”
When Bush accepted his party’s nomination for president, he described America as “a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.”
”I have spoken of ‘a thousand points of light’ of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the nation, doing good,” he reiterated in his inaugural address.
As president, Bush launched the “Points of Light” initiative to promote volunteerism and community service across the country. His Points of Light foundation now logs 20 million hours of volunteer service per year, equal to $482 million in work hours.
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump said in a statement that Bush “always found a way to set the bar higher” and guided the nation with “sound judgement, common sense, and unflappable leadership.”
“As President, he set the stage for the decades of prosperity that have followed,” the Trumps said. “And through all that he accomplished, he remained humble, following the quiet call to service that gave him a clear sense of direction.”
After Barbara Bush died, George H.W. Bush insisted on going to greet everyday mourners in Houston who had come to pay their respects to the former first lady. He was hospitalized and released soon after.
Bush spent the summer in Kennebunkport, Maine, and saw his granddaughter Barbara get married.
On Tuesday, McGrath tweeted that Bush had been visited by former President Obama that day while the 44th president was visiting Houston. “The two had a very pleasant and private visit at the Bush residence, where they rekindled what was already a very warm friendship,” McGrath said.
“George H.W. Bush’s life is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling. And he did tremendous good along the journey. Expanding America’s promise to new immigrants and people with disabilities. Reducing the scourge of nuclear weapons and building a broad international coalition to expel a dictator from Kuwait. And when democratic revolutions bloomed across Eastern Europe, it was his steady, diplomatic hand that made possible an achievement once thought anything but – ending the Cold War without firing a shot,” the Obamas said in a statement reacting to his death. “It’s a legacy of service that may never be matched, even though he’d want all of us to try.”
In June, Bush tweeted about his new service dog and a visit from former President Clinton.
“I am profoundly grateful for every minute I spent with President Bush and will always hold our friendship as one of my life’s greatest gifts,” Clinton said.
This was the pinned tweet on his Twitter page when Bush passed away today:
Happiest of birthdays to Barbara Pierce of Rye, NY. I’m still the luckiest guy in the world. pic.twitter.com/qsUHtyBIez
— George Bush (@GeorgeHWBush) June 8, 2017