Former US First Lady Barbara Bush passes away

George HW Bush's wife, Barbara, passed away at the age of 92

Barbara Bush
Barbara Bush

Barbara Bush, the former US first lady, has died at the age of 92, a family spokesperson has said.

The matriarchal figure of a political dynasty that included two presidents, her husband George HW Bush and son George W Bush, had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure.

Family spokesman, Jim McGrath, said in a 15 April statement: “Following a recent series of hospitalizations, and after consulting her family and doctors, Mrs Bush has decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will instead focus on comfort care.”

Bush’s two most prominent sons, the former president George W Bush and the former Florida governor Jeb Bush, paid tribute to their mother in separate statements after the news of her death broke.

“Our souls are settled because we know hers was,” George W Bush said, adding that his mother was “a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions”.

 “To us, she was so much more. Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end.”

Her husband, at 93, is the longest-lived US president. Their son, George, was elected in 2000 and served two terms as the nation's 43rd president.

Jeb Bush, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, said: “I’m exceptionally privileged to be the son of George Bush and the exceptionally gracious, gregarious, fun, funny, loving, tough, smart, graceful woman who was the force of nature known as Barbara Bush.”

Donald Trump said he and the first lady, Melania Trump, “joined the nation in celebrating the life of Barbara Bush”.

“As a wife, mother, grandmother, military spouse, and former First Lady, Mrs. Bush was an advocate of the American family,” the president said in a written statement.

As first lady, Mrs Bush went beyond the traditional role of a political spouse, founding the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy to help parents and children from disadvantaged communities to read and write.

She was a fierce advocate of civil rights and went against many of her husband's Republican party supporters with her more liberal view on abortion rights.

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