Official state funeral plans announced for George H.W. Bush

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On the living room table at Sam Zakhem's Lakewood home, a small bronze statue of former President George H.W. Bush demands attention.

Bush, who served as 41st president, died at 10 p.m. Friday, Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath announced. From there, Bush's casket will travel to Washington on board Trump's presidential aircraft - in what the United States leader called "a special tribute that he deserves very much".

Bush served as the 41st USA president between 1989 and 1993 and had his term defined by the end of the Cold War, and the Gulf War against Saddam Hussein.

Before that, his body will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda for a public viewing from his arrival in Washington Monday until Wednesday morning.

Flowers laid are seen at the base of the statue at the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas on December 1, 2018. He ran against one of Bush's sons, Jeb Bush, in the GOP presidential primaries in 2016, and was sharply critical of the two-term presidency of another, George W. Bush.

George H.W. Bush didn't lose his sense of humour even as he was letting go of life. He credited Bush's ability to negotiate with former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev as playing a key role.

Hillary Clinton says the letter made her cry, when she first read it back then and again when she heard Bush was gone.

George P. Bush, the only member of his family to campaign for Trump after his father dropped out of the race, largely shrugs off questions about his family dynasty and his responsibility for keeping it alive politically. Gorbachev called him "a true partner" in winding down the Cold War. He was a great man with great character, regardless of politics. Bush subsequently bristled at suggestions that was racist, saying his heart contained "nothing but pride and love" for his grandchildren.

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

"The president led the charge... and insisted that we do it in such a way, that we were not unsympathetic to the political problems of Mr. Gorbachev and we could operate in a way that would make it easier for him to do what we wanted him to do, not by brute force, not by threats, not by taking advantage of dancing on the Berlin wall as it came down".

Writing in the Washington Post, Bill Clinton said Bush's words showed "natural humanity". "I never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described", Bush continued in a somewhat heartfelt manner - an exchange hardly expected between two presidents in today's highly divisive political environment in the United States.