George HW Bush – the 41st president of the United States – has died at the age of 94, his son George W Bush has announced.
The elder of the two Bush presidents served during a time of starkly shifting geopolitics – the USSR unravelled and the Berlin Wall came down during his term – but he failed to win reelection after the economy worsened.
A now notorious comment – “Read my lips: no new taxes” – that he made at the 1988 Republian Party conveyor but had to backtrack on two years later, came to hang around his neck. In 1992, he lost the White House to a fresh-faced Bill Clinton.
One of his final public appearances was at the April funeral service for his wife, at the St Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas. He was pushed into the service by his son, George W Bush, and posed for a photograph with Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Barack and Michelle Obama. The Trump family was represented first lady Melania, after Donald Trump announced he would not attend out of respect for the family.
Bush had a form of Parkinson’s disease that forced him to use a wheelchair or motorized scooter in recent years. During that period, he had been repeatedly in an out of various hospitals and his health had weakened.
George W Bush issued a statement late on Friday to announce his father’s death saying he was a “was a man of the highest character”.
“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,” the statement read.
The death at 11.10pm EST of the former president, who served as a US naval aviator during World War Two, was announced in a statement issued by longtime spokesman, Jim McGrath. No further details about the circumstances of his death were immediately available.