Former President George H.W. Bush was by his wife’s side up until the moment she died and is “broken-hearted” at her passing, his longtime chief of staff said Tuesday night.
Bush was married to his wife, Barbara, for 73 years. Though the former president, 93, is devastated that she’s gone, he’s also being “stoic” and “strong” in the face of what his chief of staff, Jean Becker, called a “very challenging time.”
“So many of you are asking, ‘How is 41?’ He, of course, is broken-hearted to lose his beloved Barbara, his wife of 73 years,” Becker wrote in a statement. “He held her hand all day today and was at her side when (she) left this good earth.”
“Obviously, this is a very challenging time,” Becker said. “But it will not surprise all of you who know and love (George Bush), that he also is being stoic and strong, and is being lifted up by his large and supportive family.”
“He is determined to be there for them as well. He appreciates all the well wishes and support,” he added.
Following news of Barbara Bush’s death, countless high-profile figures expressed their condolences, including the men who would go on to succeed her husband as president.
Current President Donald Trump immediately released a statement praising the former first lady’s “strong devotion to country and family, both of which she served unfailingly well.”
Trump’s predecessor, former President Barack Obama, said Barbara Bush was “the rock of a family devoted to public service” and an “example of the humility and decency that reflects the very best of the American spirit.”
Moreover, former President Bill Clinton called Barbara Bush a “remarkable woman” who had “grit & grace, brains & beauty.”
“She was fierce & feisty in support of her family & friends, her country & her causes. She showed us what an honest, vibrant, full life looks like,” he said.
Finally, Barbara Bush’s son, former President George W. Bush, spoke about his mother’s death and the life she lived in an interview with Fox Business Network.
“She was warm and wonderful to you — till you got out of line,” Bush joked, according to Politico. “She was awesome.”
The 43rd president said that even in her last days, his mother was cracking one-liners in front of her physician.
“You want to know why George W. is the way he is?” Bush recounted his mother saying to her doctor. “Because I drank and smoke while I was pregnant with him.”
And though she might be gone, Bush said the former first lady was not afraid to die.
“She truly believes that there’s an afterlife, that she’ll be wonderfully received in the arms of the loving God,” he said.
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