Tributes to George HW Bush
A patriot born to serve
GEORGE HW BUSH no longer feared death in his final days and hoped to be reunited with the three-year-old daughter he lost to leukaemia, his granddaughter revealed yesterday, as the world paid tribute to the last Cold War president of the US, who died at his home in Texas aged 94 on Friday.
Offering a moving window into the 41st president’s final moments, Jenna Bush Hager, one of his twin granddaughters, said he told her on his deathbed: “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. When I die I’m going to be reunited with these people that I’ve lost.” Asked who he was thinking about, Mr Bush said his wife Barbara, who died earlier this year, and Robin, their daughter.
World leaders and US politicians of all stripes, including former rivals, united to praise his service to American public life. Donald Trump cancelled a press conference at the G20 summit in Argentina in a mark of respect for Mr Bush, who was being treated for a form of Parkinson’s disease. Mr Bush will lie in state at the US Congress in Washington ahead of his funeral – an honour handed to only a handful of political and civic figures.
Mr Trump declared a national day of mourning for Mr Bush on Wednesday. The US president will attend the funeral at the Washington National Cathedral. George W Bush, Mr Bush’s son who went on to become America’s 43rd president, called his father “a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for”.
Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Russian president whose time in office overlapped with Mr Bush, called him a “true partner”.
The Queen said “President Bush was a great friend and ally of the United Kingdom”. Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said he was a “great statesman” and a “true friend” of Britain.
George HW Bush: died at home, aged 94