Death and state funeral of George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush's remains are escorted at on December 3, 2018
George H. W. Bush's remains lie in state in the United States Capitol rotunda
DateDecember 3–6, 2018 (state funeral)
December 1–30, 2018 (mourning period)
VenueStage I:
 • Ellington Field[1]
Stage II:
 • Joint Base Andrews
 • U.S. Capitol
 • Washington National Cathedral[1]
Stage III:
 • St. Martin's Episcopal Church
 • Union Pacific Railroad Westfield Auto Facility
 • Texas A&M University
 • George Bush Presidential Library and Museum[1]
LocationStage I: Houston, Texas[2]
Stage II:
 • Joint Base Andrews, Maryland
 • Washington, D.C.[3]
Stage III:
 • Houston, Texas
 • Spring, Texas
 • College Station, Texas[4]
TypeState funeral
ParticipantsJimmy Carter
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Donald Trump
Members of the 115th United States Congress
Members-elect of the 116th United States Congress
Websitewww.jtf.usstatefuneral.mdw.army.mil

On November 30, 2018, George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, died at his home in Houston, Texas, seven months after the death of his wife of 73 years, Barbara Bush. Bush was the first former president to die since Gerald Ford in 2006; at the age of 94 years and 171 days, Bush was the longest-lived U.S. president in history. His death resulted in Jimmy Carter becoming the oldest living former President of the United States; Carter is also 94, having been born four months after Bush in 1924.

Shortly after news broke of Bush's death, President Donald Trump declared a National Day of Mourning and ordered all flags "throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions" lowered to half staff for 30 days after his death. The state funeral of George H. W. Bush was the official funerary rites conducted by the Government of the United States. They occurred over a period of three days from December 3–6, 2018.

Background

Former President George H. W. Bush had struggled with health issues for several years leading up to his death. In 2012, he was diagnosed with vascular parkinsonism, necessitating the use of a mobility scooter and limiting his speech.[5][6][7] He was hospitalized numerous times in serious condition, most notably missing the inauguration of Donald Trump due to being in the intensive care unit at Houston Methodist Hospital.[7][8]

Following the death of his wife Barbara in April 2018, Bush continued to deal with a variety of health issues. He was hospitalized a day after her funeral in critical condition with a blood infection, but he was eventually stabilized and released.[9] In May, a month before his 94th birthday, he was briefly admitted to a hospital in Maine due to low blood pressure. Released after about two weeks, he returned to Houston.[10]

In late November, Bush's health began to decline again. He received former President Barack Obama at his home for what was described as a "private visit" on November 27. By November 28, he had stopped eating and did not leave his bed, telling his medical staff he did not want to return to the hospital. James Baker, former Secretary of State and a longtime friend of Bush, reported that Bush's condition had improved by the morning of November 30, as he had began eating again and was able to sit up from his bed and converse with others. According to Baker, Bush's last meal consisted of three soft-boiled eggs, a cup of yogurt, and two fruit drinks.[7]

By night on November 30, his health again worsened and death was imminent. Irish tenor Ronan Tynan came and sang two songs for Bush, as his family and friends gathered at the household to say their goodbyes. Bush's last words were "I love you too", spoken to his son, former President George W. Bush, over a speaker phone.[11] Shortly after that conversation, at 10:10 p.m. Central Standard Time, Bush died at the age of 94, with Baker describing his death as "peaceful" and adding "If those things could be sweet, it was sweet".[7]

Within hours of his death, the former president's office issued a statement indicating that funeral arrangements would be announced "as soon as practical".[12] The exact cause of death was not immediately announced.[13]

I do further appoint December 5, 2018, as a National Day of Mourning throughout the United States. I call on the American people to assemble on that day in their respective places of worship, there to pay homage to the memory of President George H.W. Bush. I invite the people of the world who share our grief to join us in this solemn observance.

Donald J. Trump, Proclamation of the President of December 1, 2018

The presidential portrait of Bush at the National Portrait Gallery is pictured draped in black mourning crêpe on December 1, 2018. Three visitors are shown signing a book of condolence.
The United States flag is lowered to half mast aboard USS George H.W. Bush on December 1, 2018.
A gun salute is fired at Joint Base Myer–Henderson Hall on December 3, 2018. Memorial gun volleys were fired at 30 minute increments from sunrise to sunset at all U.S. military installations the Monday following Bush's death.
A VC-25 of the 89th Airlift Wing departs Ellington Field, Texas on December 3, 2018 carrying the remains of George H.W. Bush to Washington for the state funeral.
The casket carrying George H.W. Bush's remains arrives at Joint Base Andrews on December 3, 2018.
The color party, honorary pallbearers, and pallbearers with the casket carrying the remains of George H.W. Bush enter the United States Capitol on December 3, 2018.
Members of the public pay their respects Monday evening, December 3, 2018, at the casket of former President George H. W. Bush lying in state in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.
President Donald Trump salutes the casket containing the remains of George H.W. Bush as First Lady Melania Trump looks on during the lying in state on December 3, 2018.
"Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven" is performed during the memorial service at the National Cathedral on December 5, 2018.
President Trump and former presidents Obama, Clinton, and Carter along with their respective wives pictured during the memorial service at the National Cathedral on December 5, 2018.
The casket containing the remains of George H.W. Bush is removed from the National Cathedral following the memorial service on December 5, 2018.
Aircraft of Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic arrive for the flyover during internment of Bush's remains at the George Bush Library.
A moment of silence is observed at a Washington Redskins football game on December 9, 2018

Reactions

Domestic

At 12:49 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on December 1, President Donald Trump tweeted that he and Melania Trump's "hearts ache with his loss and we, with the entire American people, send our prayers to the entire Bush family".[14] Former President Barack Obama said in a statement that "George H. W. Bush's life is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling. And he did tremendous good along the journey."[15] Former President Bill Clinton sent a statement that "Hillary and I mourn the passing of President George H.W. Bush, and give thanks for his great long life of service, love, and friendship. I will be forever grateful for the friendship we formed. From the moment I met him as a young governor invited to his home in Kennebunkport, I was struck by the kindness he showed to Chelsea, by his innate genuine decency, and by his devotion to Barbara, his children, and their growing brood." Former President Jimmy Carter mourned his death on Saturday, saying his administration was "marked by grace, civility, and social conscience."[16] Former Vice President Dan Quayle said that "the world mourns the loss of a great American" and that he had often told his children to look to Bush as a role model.[17] Former Vice President Al Gore issued a statement calling Bush a "man of integrity".[17] Sylvester Turner, the mayor of Houston – where Bush resided at the time of his death – said that he joined "Houstonians in mourning the death of George Herbert Walker Bush and expressing heartfelt condolences to his children and the rest of the Bush family".[18]

International

International statements include:[19]