HOUSTON (AP) – A spokeswoman says former President George H.W. Bush held the hand of his wife, Barbara Bush, all day and was by her side when she died.
Jean Becker, the chief of staff at Bush’s office in Houston, said in a statement released by Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath that the 41st president “is broken-hearted to lose his beloved Barbara.”
The former first lady died Tuesday in Houston. She was 92.
Becker says it’s a “very challenging time” for the 93-year-old Bush, but “he also is stoic and strong, and is being lifted up by his large and supportive family.”
President Donald Trump and the first lady are also paying tribute to Barbara Bush .
The White House says in a statement posted on the president’s Twitter feed that the Trumps “join the nation in celebrating Barbara Bush.”
The statement hails the former first lady as “an advocate of the American family” and says she “will be long remembered for her strong devotion to country and family, both of which she served unfailingly well.”
The Trumps are also praising Mrs. Bush for “recognizing the importance of literacy as a fundamental family value that requires nurturing and protection.”
Full statement from President Trump:
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump join 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. Amongst her greatest achievements was recognizing the importance of literacy as a fundamental family value that requires nurturing and protection. She will be long remembered for her strong devotion to country and family, both of which she served unfailingly well. The President and First Lady’s thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Mrs. Bush.
In a separate statement, Melania Trump is offering her “heartfelt condolences and prayers” to the Bush family. Read her full statement:
Our hearts are with the Bush family as we celebrate the life and mourn the loss of Barbara Bush. Throughout her life, she put family and country above all else. Her dedicated service to the American people was matched only by her compassion and love of family. She was a woman of strength and we will always remember her for her most important roles of wife, mother, and First Lady of the United States. My heartfelt condolences and prayers are with the Bush family as we honor her legacy.
Former President George W. Bush says he and his family are saddened by the death of his mother.
But the 43rd president says the family’s “souls are settled because we know hers was.”
In his statement, George W. Bush calls his mother “a fabulous first lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love and literacy to millions.” He says his mother “kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end.”
Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are calling the former first lady a remarkable woman with “grit and grace, brains and beauty.”
The Clintons, in a statement shortly after Bush’s death was announced Tuesday, say she was “fierce and feisty in support of her family and friends, her country and her causes.”
Clinton says she “showed us what an honest, vibrant, full life looks like. Hillary and I mourn her passing and bless her memory.”
Clinton defeated her husband, George H.W. Bush, in the 1992 election.
Former President Jimmy Carter paid tribute to Barbara Bush’s “warmth, generosity and keen wit” following her death.
Carter says Bush was “the matriarch of a family dedicated to serving.” In a statement, he says that through Bush’s “work to promote literacy as a value in every American home, countless families now have the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in all aspects of their lives.”
Carter says he and former first lady Rosalynn Carter are saddened by her death and they’ll miss her.
Former President Lyndon Johnson’s daughter, Lynda Johnson Robb, says she smiles when she thinks of Barbara Bush, saying her candor was always refreshing and her grace was endless.
Robb says Bush’s love of family “never wavered and she was always a true patriot.” She says her family was fortunate to know her and “will always be grateful for her service to our country.”
Robb’s sister, Lucy Baines Johnson, describes Bush as a “no nonsense” devoted mother to her family and the nation and was “wit, wisdom, honesty, and character on two feet.”
Johnson says Bush inspired “a ‘thousand points of light’ of service to our country and was a beacon to us all. We loved her for who she was and for what we became because of her example. Our hearts go out to her remarkable family and to all who loved her as we did. The world is a poorer placer without Barbara Bush.”
Statement from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos:
“Barbara Bush was a woman of grace, wit, perseverance and character. She committed the entirety of her life to serving others: her family, her friends and her nation.
“A true advocate for lifelong learning, no one in America has done more to advance the cause of literacy — both for students and for parents — than Barbara Bush. She continued this commitment long after her days in the White House, and her work has changed thousands upon thousands of families’ lives for generations by helping them unlock the power of literacy.
“I extend my heartfelt prayers for and deepest condolences to the entire Bush family, along with sincere gratitude for sharing their wife, mother and ganny with all of us. America is a better country because of Barbara Bush.”