UPDATE: World leaders, Canadians mourn George H. W. Bush

George H. W. Bush (Official White House portrait via Wikipedia)

Tribute continues to be paid for former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, who died late Friday night at the age of 94.

Bush served as the 41st American President, elected in 1988 and serving one term, from 1989 to 1993. Before that, he served for eight years as Vice-President under Ronald Reagan.

In 2000, his son George W. became the 43rd president. Another son, Jeb, has served as governor of Florida.

Bush’s family announced his passing through a statement on Twitter, calling him “a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for.”

Tributes have poured in from former U.S. Presidents Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton, who defeated Bush in 1992 and later developed a close friendship with him.

Canadians are also paying tribute to Bush, who developed a close relationship with former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, working to help eliminate acid rain and putting together the original NAFTA. Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Bush left behind an “incredible, enduring legacy”. Current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians are in solidarity with their American neighbours in mourning.

Expressions of condolence have also been provided by British prime minister Theresa May, German chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and Queen Elizabeth II, who according to CNN, called Bush a “great friend and ally of the U.K.”

Bush’s wife and former first lady Barbara Bush died in April 2018. They were married for 73 years, making them the longest married couple in presidential history. In addition to George W. and Jeb, he is survived by three surviving children, Neil, Marvin and Doro; along with numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A sixth child, Robin, died of leukemia in 1953 at age three.

He leaves behind a legacy of public service matched by few in American history. In addition to being President and Vice-President, Bush had also served as a Congressman from Texas, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and as an envoy to China. As President, Bush oversaw an international coalition to force Iraqi troops out of Kuwait in what was known as Operation Desert Storm. He also navigated the United States through the end of the Cold War, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Soviet Union, and the reunification of Germany.

President Trump has ordered all American flags, including those at U.S. installations worldwide, to be lowered to half-staff for 30 days in tribute to the former President. The president’s casket will lie in state from Monday night until Wednesday morning in the centre of the U.S. Capitol rotunda.

Wednesday has been declared a national day of mourning, with a state funeral to be held in Washington. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will attend. Mulroney is expected to deliver a eulogy, according to Global News.

–with files from Mark Brown