Former US President George HW Bush dies at the age of 94

George Herbert Walker Bush, America’s 41st president, has died at the age 94.

The Second World War hero passed away at 10.10pm CT on Friday at his home in Houston, Texas, his office confirmed in a statement.

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The statement did not specify the cause of death, but Bush had a form of Parkinson’s disease and had been hospitalized several times for pneumonia and other infections in recent years. Days before his death, Bush was reportedly being treated for low blood pressure.

Bush Snr, who presided over the final days of the Cold War and the crackup of the Soviet Union, died less than eight months after his beloved wife of 70 years, Barbara, passed away.

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His eldest son George W. Bush, the 43rd president, paid tribute to his father and the head of their political dynasty on behalf of his siblings, saying: ‘Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died.’

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‘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 for and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens,’ the younger Bush added.

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Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser during Bush’s presidency, said: ‘The world has lost a great leader; this country has lost one of its best; and I have lost one of my dearest friends. I am heartbroken.’

President Donald Trump and First Melania also offered tribute to Bush in a statement.

‘Through his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country President Bush inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service – to be, in his words, ‘a thousand points of light’ illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of America to the world,’ the statement said.

‘His example lives on, and will continue to stir future Americans to pursue a greater cause.’

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Over a two-decade period, Bush served as ambassador to the United Nations, envoy to China, chairman of the Republican National Committee at the height of the Watergate scandal, director of the CIA and, for two terms, Ronald Reagan’s vice-president.

It was a professional grounding that has led some to argue he was the best-prepared president in US history. Still, Bush was put to the test, as diplomat and statesman, by the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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In January 1991, Bush launched a US-led military offensive in the Persian Gulf to counter Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait that began the previous year. The swift military offensive quickly defeated Saddam’s forces.

While Bush Sr earned credit for his approach to foreign policy, he was less successful on the domestic front and lost the 1992 presidential race to Democrat Bill Clinton.

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Following his defeat, George and Barbara Bush moved to Houston, where he had long maintained a hotel room as his legal address. They also spent time in Kennebunkport, Maine, where the Bush family has long had a waterside home.

Active until his last years, when his health confined him to a wheelchair, Bush celebrated his 90th birthday jumping out of a helicopter.

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More recently, Bush joined the four other living ex-presidents in the fall of 2017 for a concert in Texas to benefit victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.