Former first lady Barbara Bush, the wife and mother of two presidents, has decided to end medical treatment for a life-threatening illness.
Family spokesman Jim McGrath announced on Twitter Sunday that Bush, 92, made the decision after consulting with her family and friends.
“It will not surprise those who know her that Barbara Bush has been a rock in the face off her failing health, worrying not for herself — thanks to her abiding faith — but for others,” he said.
Her husband, George H.W. Bush, the nation’s 41st president, is now 93 years old and struggling with a Parkinson’s-like disease that forces him to use a wheelchair and made it difficult for him to speak.
Her son George W. Bush, now 71 and the nation’s 43rd president, served from 2001-09 and retired to Texas.
Statement by the Office of George H. W. Bush on the health of former First Lady Barbara Bush. pic.twitter.com/4csUS6IRKZ
— Jim McGrath (@jgm41) April 15, 2018
Throughout a long life in the public eye, Bush was a fierce advocate for her husband and sons, including former Florida governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush.
She also defended them against detractors, from those who criticized her husband’s decision to raise taxes in 1990 to those who opposed her son’s decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003.
Her health deteriorated along with her husband’s. Both were hospitalized simultaneously — Mrs. Bush with “fatigue and coughing” — in the days leading up to President Trump’s inauguration last year and were unable to attend.
Just this month, the former first lady wrote about her husband in a note for the spring edition of Smith College’s alumnae magazine.
“I am still old and still in love with the man I married 72 years ago,” she wrote in the life updates section for the magazine.
Bush also revealed her secret for a long life: medical attention.
“I have had great medical care and more operations than you would believe,” she told the magazine. “I’m not sure God will recognize me; I have so many new body parts!”
She continued: “Also, George Bush has given me the world. He is the best — thoughtful and loving.”
The couple met at a Christmas dance in 1941, when Barbara Pierce was 16 and George Bush was 17. They got engaged right before he left to fight in World War II as a Navy pilot. After he returned on leave, she dropped out of Smith College, and the two married in January 1945.
Smith College awarded Barbara Bush with an honorary degree in 1989.