Our thoughts are with the Bush family during this difficult time. TMZ reported on Tuesday, April 17, that former First Lady Barbara Bush, 92, has passed away due to COPD and congestive heart failure. This comes on the heels of her grandddaughter Jenna Bush Hager providing the public with an emotional update on Barbara's condition, before her death. "We are grateful for her. She's the best grandma anybody could have ever had — or have," Jenna told Today co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on Monday, April 16.
"[My sister, Barbara Pierce Bush] and I talked to her last night. She's in great spirits and she's a fighter. She's an enforcer. She reminded me not to believe everything you read. So we're grateful for her, for everybody's prayers and thoughts and just know the world is better because she's in it," Jenna said.
When Hoda asked the 36-year-old former First Daughter how her grandfather, George H.W. Bush, 93, and her parents were doing, Jenna replied, "She's with my grandpa, the man she's loved for over 73 years. And they are surrounded by family. But I think the fact that they're together in this and he still says, 'I love you, Barbie,' every night is pretty remarkable." Read on for more info about Barbara's health battle before her death.
What illness did Barbara Bush suffer from?
On Sunday, April 15, the Bushes revealed that Barbara had decided not to seek additional medical care after being in and out of the hospital in recent months for treatments for various illnesses. She spent her final days at home surrounded by her loved ones. "Following a recent series of hospitalizations, and after consulting her family and doctors, Mrs. Bush, age 92, decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will instead focus on comfort care," Bush family spokesperson Jim McGrath announced in a statement posted on Twitter before her passing.
"It will not surprise those who know her that Barbara Bush has been a rock in the face of her failing health, worrying not for herself — thanks to her abiding faith — but for others. She is surrounded by a family she adores, and appreciates the many kind messages and especially the prayers she is receiving," he said at the time.
For the past year, Barbara battled Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure, and she was most recently hospitalized on Friday, March 30 for shortness of breath, according to CNN. She was on oxygen and she was being cared for at her home in Houston before her death.
Did Barbara Bush smoke cigarettes?
Since Barbara suffered from COPD — a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make it difficult to breathe — many people wondered if the condition was caused by smoking. Though we don't know for sure if smoking cigarettes directly caused the former FLOTUS' ailing health, she did admit in her 1994 memoir that she began smoking at age 18. However, she later quit smoking on New Year's Day 1968 and subsequently became an impassioned anti-smoking advocate. "She is full of admonitions about smoking, now that she has given it up," a 1994 profile on Barbara explained.
Following the sad news of Barbara's death, fans took to social media to share their well wishes to Barbara, and people from all types of political backgrounds praised her for the work that she did in her lifetime. While she served as FLOTUS during her husband's presidency between 1989 and 1993, she championed the cause for literacy and she founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which still works today to help imrove literacy in the United States for both parents and children. Our thoughts remain with the entire Bush family during this tough time.