Barbara died on Tuesday at the age of 92, after deciding not to seek any more medical treatment following a recent series of hospitalizations. In a statement, Bush lovingly referenced Barbara's nickname in the family -- "The Enforcer" -- and called her the "most beloved woman in the world."
"I always knew Barbara was the most beloved woman in the world, and in fact I used to tease her that I had a complex about that fact," Bush's statement reads, which was tweeted by the former president's post-White House spokesman, Jim McGrath. "But the truth is the outpouring of love and friendship being directed at The Enforcer is lifting us all up. We have faith she is in heaven, and we all know life will go on -- as she would have it. So cross the Bushes off your worry list."
On Tuesday, Jean Becker, chief of staff at the Office of George H.W. Bush, said 93-year-old Bush was holding his wife's hand up until she died. The two had been married since 1945, and had six children together -- former President George W. Bush, as well as sons Jeb, Neil, and Marvin, and daughters Dorothy and Robin. Robin died at the age of three from leukemia.
“He, of course, is broken-hearted to lose his beloved Barbara, his wife of 73 years,” Becker said in a statement about Bush. “He held her hand all day today and was at her side when [she] left this good earth.”
“Obviously, this is a very challenging time," he added. "But it will not surprise all of you who know and love him, that he also is being stoic and strong, and is being lifted up by his large and supportive family. He is determined to be there for them as well. He appreciates all the well wishes and support.”
Barbara served alongside her husband in the White House from 1989-93. On Tuesday, her granddaughter, Jenna Bush Hager, wrote about the love between her grandparents in an emotional Instagram post.
“She adored my Gampy, the first man she ever kissed; their love story is so engrained in the history of our family," Hager shared alongside an adorable throwback photo of the three of them. "Thinking of my Gampy tonight -- no doubt missing his beloved desperately."
“I already miss this FORCE of a woman -- the ‘enforcer’ because she was the glue that held our family together,” the 36-year-old Today show correspondent also wrote. “She taught me to use my voice but also to value the opinions of others. She adored her friends and family; her loyalty was unwavering."