Barbara Bush, one of only two women in American history to be both the wife and the mother of United States presidents, has died at age 92, a family spokesman has said, according to The Guardian.
Bush had been in failing health in recent days – she reportedly had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. A 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.”
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 from 1989 to 1993, Bush was an advocate for literacy and started the Barbara Bush Foundation to promote this goal. She drew attention while at the White House for seeking to eschew politics, particularly controversial issues such as abortion. However, she attracted controversy in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when she said: “So many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them,” while meeting with survivors of the natural disaster in Houston.
Bush took to the campaign trail in 2016 on behalf of her son Jeb. She had previously said in 2013 that although Jeb was “the best qualified”, she thought the country had had “enough Bushes”.