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The US flag was lowered to half mast at the White House after his son, former US president George Bush Jnr, announced his father had died at 4.10am GMT yesterday.

George HW Bush, the Republican 41st president, died on Friday night in Texas at the age of 94. She raised a hand and placed it on the former president's forehead before telling him, "We love you very much, Jefe", using the Spanish word for "chief" that her husband says he used to address Bush.

Bush will be taken to his home of Houston, where he'll lie in repose at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, from 7:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday until 7 a.m. ET on Thursday. He will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda from Monday evening through Wednesday morning.

At the presidential library on Saturday, people came to sign the memorial book in Bush's honour, or lay flowers at the feet of his statue. The remains will be transported by funeral vehicle (train) to College Station.

Clinton said the two men had a respectful friendship during his own presidency, but it was after that they truly got to know each other, when President George W. Bush asked his father and Clinton to be involved in USA relief efforts for the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami disaster and Hurricane Karina in 2005.

After moving to Texas to work in the oil business, Bush turned his attention to politics in the 1960s, being elected to his first of two terms in Congress in 1967.

From former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to current heads of state, leaders praised Bush both for his strength and his moderation, as well as the commitment to internationalism typified by his assembling of a global coalition to oust Iraqi invaders from Kuwait in 1991. "The result was the end of the Cold War and nuclear arms race". In return, Obama has involved himself in the political fight to a greater extent than usual.

Suffering from Parkinson's disease, Bush had been wheelchair-bound and in failing health.

Cheney added: "I'm always asked which job I liked the best of the ones I had and I always cite that period of Secretary of Defense for George Bush". But the world of politics was calling this son of a United States senator. He contrasted it with his own campaign slogan, saying "Putting America first, we understand". President Bush was a man of unimpeachable character and integrity whose decency and kindness earned him the respect and admiration of the nation he served. With President Bush's passing, the United States has lost one its greatest statesmen.

He shattered the unwritten norms of the small fraternity of Oval Office occupants by keeping up criticism of the Bushes from the West Wing.

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