George HW Bush’s family, political figures share their grief over loss of former president
President George HW Bush kisses his wife Barbara Bush during a pre-election rally at the Astro Arena in Houston in 1992. (AP: Ron Edmonds)
Family members and US political leaders are mourning the death of former president George HW Bush, paying tribute to the political patriarch on social media.
- Mr Bush died on November 30, aged 94
- President Donald Trump commended Mr Bush’s “unflappable leadership”
- Mr Bush’s grandson described him as the “greatest man I ever knew”
The 41st president of the United States died at age 94.
In a statement from both himself and his wife Melania, US President Donald Trump said the former president “inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service”.
“President Bush always found a way to set the bar higher,” Mr Trump said.
“With sound judgement, common sense and unflappable leadership, president Bush guided our nation and the world to a peaceful and victorious conclusion of the Cold War.
“As president, he set the stage for the decades of prosperity that have followed.
“And through all that he accomplished, he remained humble, following the quiet call to service that gave him a clear sense of direction.”
The 43rd president of the United States and Mr Bush’s eldest child, George W Bush, released a statement through family spokesman Jim McGrath.
“Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died,” he said.
“George HW 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 and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.”
Mr Bush’s grandson, George P Bush, recalled fond memories of his grandfather, known to him as Gampy.
“My grandfather was the greatest man I ever knew,” Mr Bush said.
“His life spanned the American Century — he fought in World War II, took part in the Texas oil boom [and] served out a distinguished career in public service including serving as president during the final days of the Cold War.”
Tweet from George P Bush: He was more than a great man; he was a good man. His courage was matched by his compassion; and his dedication to country was equaled only by his devotion to his family. Gampy, we love you and we will miss you. But we will never forget you.
Former president Barack Obama said Mr Bush left a “legacy that may never be matched”.
“America has lost a patriot and humble servant in George Herbert Walker Bush,” Mr Obama said on Twitter.
“While our hearts are heavy today, they are also filled with gratitude.
“Our thoughts are with the entire Bush family tonight — and all who were inspired by George and Barbara’s example.”
George HW Bush, with past presidents and first ladies Laura Bush, from left, George W Bush, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and current first lady Melania Trump. (AP: Paul Morse/Courtesy of Office of George HW Bush)
Meanwhile the 42nd president of the United States, Bill Clinton, remembered Mr Bush as a friend.
“From the moment I met him as a young governor invited to his home in Kennebunkport, I was stuck by the kindness he showed to Chelsea, by his innate and genuine decency, and by his devotion to Barbara, his children and their growing brood,” Mr Clinton said in a statement.
George Bush and Bill Clinton arrive at a Thailand airport in the tsunami-hit island of Phuket on February 19, 2005. (Reuters: Bazuki Muhammad)
“He never stopped serving.
“I am profoundly grateful for every minute I spent with president Bush and will always hold our friendship as one of my life’s greatest gifts.”
In Australia, Labor leader Bill Shorten praised Mr Bush for his contribution.
Tweet from Bill Shorten: President Bush was a firm friend of Australia and, with Hawke and Keating at his side, a champion for his nation’s active engagement in our region. A statesman to the end, who devoted his life to service. His example will live long in the hearts of his fellow Americans.
Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack said Australia mourned with the United States, and said the former president was a good role model for all politicians.
“He did a lot for his nation, he did a lot for the world and of course relations between Australia and the United States have always been strong and were certainly strong during his presidency,” Mr McCormack said.
“I thought it was very interesting that in his letter to Bill Clinton after the 1992 defeat, he wrote to his successor, ‘Your success now is our country’s success. I’m rooting hard for you. Good luck’.
“I think we can probably all learn a lesson from the fact that he reached out the hand of comradeship and the hand of unity and wished his successor all the best.”
Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke also paid tribute to Mr Bush.
“George Bush was a good friend of mine whom I admired as a man of decency and charm, an outstanding President in a difficult era,” Mr Hawke said.