George H W Bush, the 41st president of the US who led America during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the turning back of an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, died on Friday. He was 94. President Bush was suffering from Parkinson’s disease that forced him to use a wheelchair in recent years, and he had been in and out of hospitals in recent months as his health declined.
“America has lost a patriot and humble servant in George Herbert Walker Bush. While our hearts are heavy today, they are also filled with gratitude,” former president Barack Obama said in a statement.
His death, which was announced by his office, came less than eight months after that of his wife of 73 years, Barbara Bush.
“Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died,” George Bush Jr, who went on to serve as the 43rd US president, said in a statement.
He 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,” Bush Jr added.
There were fears that after his wife, Barbara, died in April, Bush might die, too. He was admitted to a hospital with a blood infection on April 23, one day after the funeral for the former first lady, and remained there for 13 days. George Herbert Walker Bush was born on June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts. He was the second oldest child in a family of four boys and one girl. Having graduated from Phillips Academy six months after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Bush soon became the youngest combat aviation officer in the war.
Bush flew 58 combat missions in the Pacific as a torpedo bomber pilot and once was shot down by the Japanese in 1944. For his effort at bringing the plane down and saving most of its crew, Bush was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.