Former US First Lady Barbara Bush dies at 92

  • Former US First Lady Barbara Bush died on Tuesday, April 17
  • She was 92 years old
  • Barbara had been battling pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure

Former United States (US) First Lady Barbara Bush, the woman behind two former American presidents, has died following a battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. She was 92 years old.

Barbara, wife to the 41st US president, George HW. Bush, and mother to the 43rd, George W. Bush, reportedly died on Tuesday, April 17, according to the elder Bush’s chief of staff Jean Becker.

Becker said George HW held his wife’s hand all day and was at her side when she finally breathe her last.

In a statement, George W described his mother as “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 then,” he said.

US President Donald Trump and First lady Melania Trump extended their condolences and prayers to the Bush family, lauding Barbara’s works in promoting literacy and praised her role as “an advocate of the American family”.

Barbara’s other son, former Florida governor and Republican presidential nominee in 2016, Jeb Bush, said in a separate statement: “I’m exceptionally privileged to be the son of George Bush and the exceptionally gracious, gregarious, fun, funny, loving, tough, smart, graceful woman who was the force of nature known as Barbara Bush.”

The former First Lady was born Barbara Pierce in New York City to Pauline (née Robinson) and Marvin Pierce, who later became president of McCall Corporation, the publisher of the popular women’s magazines Redbook and McCall’s.

She met George HW when she was only 16 at a dance during a Christmas vacation. The two got engaged 18 months later and finally tied the knot on January 6, 1945.

While engaged and George was deployed as a Navy torpedo bomber pilot during World War II, he named three of his planes after her – Barbara, Barbara II, and Barbara III.

According to Time, she and the former president had the longest-lasting marriage in presidential history – 73 years.

CNN‘s tribute video for Barbara Bush: