Death and state funeral of George H. W. Bush

Death and state funeral of George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush's remains lie in state in the United States Capitol rotunda on December 3, 2018
George H. W. Bush's remains lie in state in the United States Capitol rotunda
DateDecember 3–6, 2018 (state funeral)
December 1–30, 2018 (mourning period)
VenueStage I:
 • Ellington Field[1]
Stage II:
 • Joint Base Andrews
 • U.S. Capitol
 • Washington National Cathedral[1]
Stage III:
 • St. Martin's Episcopal Church
 • Union Pacific Railroad Westfield Auto Facility
 • Texas A&M University
 • George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum[1]
LocationStage I: Houston, Texas[2]
Stage II:
 • Joint Base Andrews, Maryland
 • Washington, D.C.[3]
Stage III:
 • Houston, Texas
 • Spring, Texas
 • College Station, Texas[4]
TypeState funeral
ParticipantsJimmy Carter
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Donald Trump
Members of the 115th United States Congress
Members-elect of the

On November 30, 2018, George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, died after a battle with vascular Parkinson's disease at his home in Houston, Texas. He was the first U.S. president to die since Gerald Ford in late 2006. At the age of 94 years and 171 days, Bush was the longest-lived U.S. president in history until March 22, 2019, when his record was surpassed by Jimmy Carter.

Shortly after news broke of Bush's death, President Donald Trump declared a national day of mourning and ordered all flags "throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions" lowered to half staff for 30 days after his death. The state funeral of George H. W. Bush was the official funerary rites conducted by the Government of the United States which occurred over a period of four days from December 3 to 6, 2018. About a dozen of world leaders attended the event.


Former President George H. W. Bush had struggled with health issues for several years leading up to his death. In 2012, he was diagnosed with vascular Parkinsonism, necessitating the use of a mobility scooter, limiting his speech and his ability to travel across the world (due to this, he was not on the list of guests for the memorial service of Nelson Mandela in 2013, and opted to send a Condolences Message to Mandela's family and watch the event through the C-SPAN television channel instead).[5][6][7] He was hospitalized numerous times in serious condition, most notably missing the inauguration of Donald Trump due to being in the intensive care unit at Houston Methodist Hospital.[7][8]

Following the death of his wife Barbara on April 17, 2018, Bush continued to deal with a variety of health issues. He was hospitalized a day after her funeral in critical condition with sepsis, but he was eventually stabilized and released.[9] In May, a month before his 94th birthday, he was briefly admitted to a hospital in Maine due to low blood pressure. Released after about two weeks, he returned to Houston.[10]

In late November, Bush's health began to decline again. He received former President Barack Obama at his home for what was described as a "private visit" on November 27. By November 28, he had stopped eating and did not leave his bed, telling his medical staff he did not want to return to the hospital. James Baker, former Secretary of State and a longtime friend of Bush, reported that Bush's condition had improved by the morning of November 30, as he had begun eating again and was able to sit up from his bed and converse with others. According to Baker, Bush's last meal consisted of three soft-boiled eggs, a cup of yogurt, and two fruit drinks.[7]

By night on November 30, his health again worsened and death was imminent. Irish tenor Ronan Tynan came and sang two songs for Bush, as his family and friends gathered at the household to say their goodbyes. Bush's last words were "I love you too", spoken to his son, former President George W. Bush, over a speakerphone.[11] Shortly after that conversation, at 10:10 p.m. Central Standard Time, Bush died at the age of 94, with Baker describing his death as "peaceful" and adding "If those things could be sweet, it was sweet".[7]

Within hours of his death, the former president's office issued a statement indicating that funeral arrangements would be announced "as soon as practical".[12] The exact cause of death was not immediately announced.[13]

I do further appoint December 5, 2018, as a national day of mourning throughout the United States. I call on the American people to assemble on that day in their respective places of worship, there to pay homage to the memory of President George H.W. Bush. I invite the people of the world who share our grief to join us in this solemn observance.

Donald J. Trump, Proclamation of the President of December 1, 2018

The United States flag is lowered to half mast aboard USS George H.W. Bush on December 1, 2018.
A gun salute is fired at Joint Base Myer–Henderson Hall on December 3, 2018. Memorial gun volleys were fired at 30 minute increments from sunrise to sunset at all U.S. military installations the Monday following Bush's death.
A VC-25 of the 89th Airlift Wing departs Ellington Field, Texas on December 3, 2018, carrying the remains of George H.W. Bush to Washington for the state funeral.
The casket carrying George H.W. Bush's remains arrives at Joint Base Andrews on December 3, 2018.
The color party, honorary pallbearers, and pallbearers with the casket carrying the remains of George H.W. Bush enter the United States Capitol on December 3, 2018.
Members of the public pay their respects Monday evening, December 3, 2018, at the casket of former President George H. W. Bush lying in state in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.
President Donald Trump salutes the casket containing the remains of George H.W. Bush as First Lady Melania Trump looks on during the lying in state on December 3, 2018.
"Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven" is performed during the memorial service at the National Cathedral on December 5, 2018.
President Trump and former presidents Obama, Clinton, and Carter along with their respective wives pictured during the memorial service at the National Cathedral on December 5, 2018.
The casket containing the remains of George H.W. Bush is removed from the National Cathedral following the memorial service on December 5, 2018.
Aircraft of Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic arrive for the flyover during interment of Bush's remains at the George Bush Library.