HOUSTON, Texas — Former President George H.W. Bush spoke his final words in a phone call with his son, former President George W. Bush, a source familiar with Bush’s final hours told CNN.
In their conversation on speakerphone, the son told the senior George Bush that he had been a “wonderful father.”
His father’s reply — and final words — were: “I love you, too.”
The elder Bush’s final words were first reported by The New York Times.
In his last hours, Bush was asked whether he wanted to go to the hospital, according to a source familiar. He had been hospitalized multiple times this year since his wife Barbara Bush’s death on April 17, and he had been dealing with a number of health issues over the years, including having a form of Parkinson’s disease.
The former President answered no.
Instead, Bush said that he was ready to go and be with Barbara, his wife of 73 years, and their late daughter Robin, who died of leukemia as a child.
Bush, 94, died late Friday at his home in Houston surrounded by his family, including his son Neil Bush and wife Maria, his best friend and former Secretary of State James Baker, and his grandson Pierce Bush.
“It’s a very emotional thing,” Neil said of watching his father pass away. “This is the end of an amazing life.”
He told CNN affiliate KPRC late Saturday he would never forget that all of Bush’s children and grandchildren were able to express their love for the former President in the final moments of his life.
“They had Jimmy Baker and Susan Baker there, praying over him and expressing their love for him, and our pastor,” Neil said. “It was a beautiful moment. … He was in the loving embrace of family. It was a prayerful, incredible time.”
“I think we feel extraordinarily blessed that we were able to witness this passage.”
Bush will lie in state at the US Capitol before a memorial service at the National Cathedral in Washington. A second memorial service will follow at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston.
Bush will be laid to rest at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas, alongside his wife and Robin.
Specific times and more details will be announced at a later time, according to Bush’s spokesman, Jim McGrath.