Former first lady Barbara Bush in 'failing health'

Published: 16 April 2018


Tributes have flooded in for former first lady Barbara Bush after news the 92-year-old is in hospital suffering “failing health”.

“Following a recent series of hospitalizations, and after consulting her family and doctors, Mrs Bush, now aged 92, has decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will instead focus on comfort care,” said family spokesman Jim McGrath.

“It will not surprise those who know her that Barbara Bush has been a rock in the face of her failing health, worrying not for herself – thanks to her abiding faith – but for others.”

In 1945, 19-year-old Barbara Pierce, the daughter of a New York publisher, married a young naval aviator called George H. W. Bush.

Mr Bush would go on to serve as the 41st president of the United States, with Barbara by his side, from 1989 to 1993.

The couple had six children, and in 2000 Barbara and George saw their eldest son George W Bush be sworn in as 43rd president of the United States.

Over her decades in the public spotlight, Mrs Bush became a renowned and respected philanthropist and a keen advocate for literacy.

While serving as first lady in the 1990s, she established the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, with the aim to ‘Advocate for and establish literacy as a value in every home’.

Since its in inception, the foundation has gone on to raise and contribute more than $50 million towards establishing and expanding more than 1500 literacy programs for underprivileged children and families in cities all across America.

“Family is unquestionably the most important part of my life,” Mrs Bush said in a founder’s message on the foundation’s website.

“Children are, after all, our most precious resource… I have the fondest memories of reading to my children when they were young – the smallest on my lap, a couple of others nestled on my knee… My wish is for every parent and child to experience the joy of reading and a lifetime of learning. We can make this nation a greater place by investing in our families and out future.”

Today, the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation, along with countless other organisations, public figures and citizens turned to social media to pay tribute to Mrs Bush.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our founder, Barbara Bush, and her family. She inspires us each day to continue working toward literacy for all,” The foundation tweeted.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump and his wife Melania’s “prayers are with all of the Bush Family during this time.”

Family spokesman Jim Mcgrath did not go into details about the nature of the former first lady’s ill health, but instead thanked everyone for the outpouring of well wishes, and assured the public that Mrs Bush was in good spirits.

“She is surrounded by family she adores, and appreciates the many kind messages and especially the prayers she is receiving,” he said.