(CNN)George H.W. Bush, the 41st President, whose steady hand and foreign policy vision led the nation through a period of sweeping global change, has died at the age of 94.
Bush's death, late Friday at his home in Houston, was announced by his son and fellow Republican, former President George W. Bush, who praised his father as "a man of the highest character."
Born into privilege and a tradition of service, Bush was a son of a senator, celebrated World War II combat pilot, student athlete, Texas oilman, Republican congressman, national party chairman, pioneering diplomat and spy chief. After his own 1980 presidential campaign came up short, he served two terms as Ronald Reagan's vice president before reaching the pinnacle of political power by winning the 1988 presidential election, soundly defeating Democrat Michael Dukakis.
After losing the White House in 1992, Bush became a widely admired political elder who leapt out of airplanes to mark birthday milestones. Emphasizing the generosity of his soul, he forged a close -- and unlikely -- friendship with Democrat Bill Clinton, the man who ended his presidency. When Parkinson's disease mostly silenced him in public, Bush flashed his sense of humor by sporting colorful striped socks.
"Got 16 days / got a bottle and a rosary
God I wish that you were close to me"
May he rest in peace
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