Bush died on Friday night at age 94, following years of declining health and months after the death of his wife of 73 years, former First Lady Barbara Bush.
George W. Bush told his father he was a "wonderful dad." His father replied, "I love you, too."
Bush died at his home in Houston. The Times reports he had not left his bed in the last few days and stopped eating. On Friday morning, Bush's former secretary of state and longtime friend, James A. Baker III, arrived at his home to check on the former president.
Bush was alert when Baker arrived and asked, "Where are we going, Bake?"
"We're going to heaven," Baker replied.
"That's where I want to go," Bush said, 13 hours before his death.
"I can't even hardly talk about it without welling up," Baker told The Times Saturday. "It was as gentle a passing as I think you could ever expect anyone to have. And he was ready."
Aside from his doctors and caregivers, the other people in the room with Bush at the time of his death were his son Neil Bush and his wife, Maria, and their son Pierce. Granddaughter Marshall Bush, Baker's wife Susan Baker, Bush's chief of staff Jean Becker, and the Rev. Dr. Russell Jones Levenson Jr. were also in the room.
Baker said Bush's health had gone "downhill" after he visited the family home in Kennebunkport, Maine during the summer after Barbara Bush's death.
His last week was spent mostly in bed. On Tuesday, former President Barack Obama stopped by to visit while he was in Houston for an event. By Thursday, Bush began losing weight and stopped eating. According to The Times, he told his medical staff he did not want to go to the hospital again, as he had done before when his health was in danger.
Baker said Bush was alert when he visited Friday morning and was eating breakfast. He left Bush just after 9 a.m., but returned that night while on his way to dinner with his wife. After dinner, they got a phone call telling them to go back to Bush's home because he "had slipped considerably," Baker told the Times.
Afterwards, Irish tenor Ronan Tynan sang "Silent Night" and a Gaelic song. Baker said Bush was mouthing the words to "Silent Night" before the Bush children were called to say goodbye.
Bush died at 10:10 p.m. local time. A few moments later, Bush's spokesman, Jim McGrath, announced Bush's death with a statement on Twitter.
Beginning on Monday, Bush will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda before a memorial service at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. Another service will be held at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston. He will be buried at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas, alongside Barbara Bush and their daughter Robin.0comments
President Donald Trump declared Wednesday a national day of mourning.
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