Former President George H.W. Bush’s final moments surrounded by family and friends were “very peaceful,” James Baker, his secretary of state, said in an interview on Sunday.
“He kept his spirit and he kept his sense of humor right until the very end,” Baker told ABC’s “This Week.” “But his passing … was very gentle and very peaceful.”
He said Bush’s health began to “go downhill” after he returned to Houston after spending the summer at his home in Kennebunkport, Maine, and hadn’t eaten for three days when Baker visited Friday morning, hours before the death of the 41st president.
When he arrived, Baker said Bush, 94, “perked up. He opened his eyes, he looked at me and said, ‘Hey Bake, where we going?’”
The former secretary of state said Bush was suffering from a form of Parkinson’s disease that led to fluid building up in his lungs.
But he said Bush “surprised us and kept surprising us throughout his illness because he’d get sick and they’d put him in the hospital and he’d bounce
back. That happened for five or six years.”
President Trump declared a national day of mourning for the former president on Wednesday when a ceremony will be held for him in the National Cathedral in Washington.