Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush dies at 94

The statement concludes: "Our hearts ache with his loss, and we, with the American people, send our prayers to the entire Bush family, as we honor the life and legacy of 41".

Shortly after his wife Barbara Bush passed away in May, there were fears that Bush might die too.

In his retirement years, Bush watched as one of his sons, George W. Bush, twice won the presidency, only the second time in USA history that a father and son both became the US leaders.

"I do think he was a transformative president", Meacham, also the author of biographies on Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, said.

He was again hospitalised for low blood pressure in May and was discharged a few days later. He was taken there after he met with other military veterans for a pancake breakfast at the American Legion Post 159 in Kennebunkport.

In 1944 Bush was the only survivor among his crew when their plane was shot down over the Pacific during a bombing raid.

When Parkinson's disease mostly silenced him in public, Bush flashed his sense of humour by sporting colourful striped socks.

The elder Mr Bush, the son of a senator, rose through the political ranks: from congressman to United Nations ambassador, Republican Party chairman to envoy to China, CIA director to two-term vice president under the hugely popular Ronald Reagan.

In a statement issued early Saturday, Bush's successor, Bill Clinton said he would be "forever grateful" for the friendship he formed with the former president he turned out of the White House after one term.

The former president, who served as a US naval aviator during World War Two, had attended his wife's funeral in Houston in a wheelchair and wore a pair of colorful socks festooned with books, in honor of his late wife's commitment to literacy. He proved to be a successful businessman and was a millionaire by the age of 40.

Then-US ambassador to the United Nations, George H.W. Bush, raises his hand signaling a veto vote in September 10, 1972.

After a brief career in the oil industry, he entered politics, serving in the US House of Representatives and as chief of the Central Intelligence Agency before being elected Ronald Reagan's vice president.

As president, Bush launched the "Points of Light" initiative to promote volunteerism and community service across the country. Under his watch, the Berlin Wall came down, the Warsaw Pact disintegrated and the Soviet satellites fell out of orbit. "It would not have happened if George Bush hadn't been there.He formed a relationship with (Soviet leader Mikhail) Gorbachev of trust that encouraged Gorbachev to give up a lot of concessions".

Yet by the time Bush left office in 1993, he had sent U.S. forces to war against Iraq in the first Gulf War, successfully reversing Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, but prompting the beginning of an unprecedented era of USA military adventurism in the Middle East. He did not publicly say whom he voted for in the election, but a source told CNN he went for Trump's Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Barbara Bush, who Bush Senior was married to for 73 years, died in April 2018.

The Bushes were renowned for having a happy marriage, which was underscored with gentle good humour.

Trump, who upended the GOP establishment with his insurgent presidential campaign, has had a fractious relationship with the Bush family over the years.

After an $8.3 million renovation to the main exhibit on the life of Bush in 2007, the museum now features state-of-the-art audio guides, with the voices of George and Barbara Bush, as well as their daughter, Dorothy.

  • Rogelio Becker