Former President George W. Bush Dead at 72

Mr. Bush's life after his presidency was marked by misfortune. He soon lost interest in his status as the standard-bearer of his party and its chief fundraiser; many believed he had again begun drinking, and in any case he seemed to spend most of his time at private clubs in Houston, where he established residence in 2010 after selling his property in Crawford, Texas. ("At least I won't have to cut that f--- brush again," Mr. Bush was heard to say after his last election.) Then on May 1, 2011, Jenna and Barbara Bush were killed in a drunken driving accident in New York City, an incident that also took the lives of seven other people, four of them friends of the Bush daughters. Rumors that a Bush family friend attempted to bribe the police to report that a person other than Jenna or Barbara Bush was driving (the body of Barbara Bush was in the driver's seat) were never confirmed. Four years later, in 2015, Laura Bush, like her father, died of Parkinson's disease; she was 68. After a period of mourning, Mr. Bush announced that, to find his way back into "productive service" and "do God's will," he would welcome the opportunity to act as commissioner of baseball. But while Commissioner Bud Selig said that he would be honored to yield the position to Mr. Bush, he cautioned that the exigencies of the job would probably require him to remain in office "for another year, or maybe two," and the question was not raised again.

Mr. Bush was preceded in death by his sister Robin Bush, his brothers John "Jeb" Bush, the former governor of Florida, Neil Bush, and Marvin Bush, and his sister Dorothy Bush Koch. He is survived by his parents.


President George W. Bush in 2004
Eric Draper
President George W. Bush in 2004

Greil Marcus is with Sean Wilentz co-editor of just published The Rose & the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad (Norton); his book Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads will be published next May by PublicAffairs. He is working on a book about prophecy and American identity.

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