With her cloud of snow-white hair, signature three strand pearls and compelling presence, Barbara Bush’s image was what she laughingly called “everybody’s grandmother.” But the feisty, outspoken Bush was also a tireless advocate for literacy , an author, experienced campaigner and both wife and mother of a U.S. president.
Bush, 92, died Tuesday, shortly after her family announced she was in failing health and would decline further medical treatment in favor of “comfort care.” There were no details of her specific health problems.
The announcement was made in a statement from the office of former President George H.W. Bush.
“A former First Lady of the United States of America and relentless proponent of family literacy, Barbara Pierce Bush passed away Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at the age of 92. She is survived by her husband of 73 years, President George H. W. Bush; five children and their spouses; 17 grandchildren; seven great grandchildren; and her brother, Scott Pierce. She was preceded in death by her second child, Pauline Robinson ‘Robin’ Bush, and her siblings Martha Rafferty and James R. Pierce.”
Bush was “broken-hearted” over the loss of his “beloved Barbara” and was said to have held her hand all day. He was “at her side” when she passed away, his chief of staff said.
In a statement, her son, former President George W. Bush, called his mother “a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other.”
He also said, “My dear mother has passed on at age 92. Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was. Barbara Bush was a fabulous First Lady and 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. I’m a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother. Our family will miss her dearly, and we thank you all for your prayers and good wishes.”
Shortly after news of her passing came out, President Donald Trump shared his “thoughts and prayers” with the Bush family.
Barbara Bush was survived by her husband of 73 years, former President George H.W. Bush, five children (a sixth died as a toddler), 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Her granddaughter, Jenna Bush Hager, told NBC News on Monday that she and her twin, Barbara, named after her grandmother, had spoken with the family matriarch Sunday night and “she’s in great spirits, and she’s a fighter and she’s an enforcer.”