Former U.S. First Lady Barbara Bush dies at 92

A former US first lady, Barbara Bush has died at the age of 92.

Her death was confirmed in a statement from the office of George HW Bush, the former president and her husband of 73 years.

Mrs Bush had suffered failing health and earlier this week decided to forego additional medical treatment after a series of hospital visits.

The statement announcing Ms Bush’s death noted she was a “relentless proponent of family literacy”, a cause that led her to launch the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which seeks to boost reading and writing skills.

The charismatic former first lady and mother to President George W Bush, had long received treatment for a thyroid condition known as Graves’ disease.

Barbara was one of two women to be both husband and mother to US Presidents

Born in New York, Ms Bush met George HW Bush at a school dance as a teenager, and they raised a family in Texas where they went on to become a formidable political dynasty

“Barbara Bush was a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions,” former president George W Bush said in a statement. “To us, she was so much more. Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until then”. 

Tributes poured in from across the US political space, with President Donald Trump and his wife Melania, in a statement lauding her efforts to promote literacy and her role as “an advocate of the American family”.

“She will long be remembered for her strong devotion to country and family, both of which she served well”, the statement said.

Barack and Michelle Obama hailed Ms Bush “for the way she lived her life – as a testament to the fact that public service is an important and noble calling; as an example of the humanity and decency that reflects the very best of the American spirit”.

After her husband George HW Bush governed from 1989 to 1993, Ms Bush’s son George W Bush was elected to two terms in 2000 and in 2004.

Her son Jeb Bush served as governor of Florida and was the favoured presidential candidate for much of the Republican establishment at the outset of the 2016 presidential campaign.

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