George H.W. Bush, who in one term as president reasserted the U.S. as the world’s lone superpower, rallying an international coalition against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War and presiding over the fall of the Berlin Wall and subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union, died on Friday. He was 94.
The announcement of his passing was made in a statement by his son, former President George W. Bush.
The Bush political dynasty began decades before, with the elder Bush’s father, Prescott Bush, a Wall Street banker, representing Connecticut in the U.S. Senate from 1952 to 1963.
An accomplished athlete throughout his life — Bush played first base for Yale University teams that twice made the College World Series — Bush celebrated his 90th birthday by taking a tandem skydive, even though by then he was using a wheelchair because of a disease similar to Parkinson’s.
He had been in and out of hospitals several times in recent years, including a stay in the intensive care unit for shortness of breath and pneumonia in January 2017, when President Donald Trump was inaugurated.
At his wife’s funeral on April 21, the gregarious and polite former president shook the hands of hundreds of mourners. He went into the hospital days later with what doctors said was an infection.
He returned home to marry his sweetheart, Barbara Pierce, and the couple settled in Texas, where he worked in the oil business. They had six children.