Former President George W. Bush praised his father as a “man of the highest character” after he announced that former President George H.W. Bush died late Friday at the age of 94.

“George H. W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for,” George W. Bush wrote in a statement. “The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens."

His wife, Barbara Bush, died in April after the couple celebrated 73 years of marriage.

The elder Bush, head of one of the most prominent families in American political history, spent decades as a public servant in a variety of roles before arriving at the White House.

Born in Massachusetts in 1924, he served as the Navy’s youngest pilot during World War II.


After the war, he went on to a career in the Texas oilfields before moving into his first role in elected office in the 1960s as chairman of a the local Republican Party in the Houston area.

He served two years in the House of Representatives and was appointed U.S. ambassador to the United Nations by former President Nixon.

During the Cold War, the elder Bush served for eight years as vice president to former President Reagan before beating Democratic opponent Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential race.

He was beaten by Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonMeghan McCain after Gaetz says Trump should pardon Roger Stone: 'Oh come on' Enlightening the pardon power The Hill's Morning Report - Democrats duke it out during Nevada debate MORE in the 1992 election, but the two went on to develop a close and respectful relationship into Clinton's administration.

The Bushes are survived by five children: George W., Jeb, Dorothy, Neil and Marvin. A sixth child, Robin, died of leukemia in 1953 at the age of 3.

George W. Bush followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming the 43rd president in 2001.  The Bushes were only the second father and son in history to have held the office, after John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

Another son, Jeb Bush, also made a presidential run in 2016 after previously serving as the governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007.