Hager, 37, paid tribute to her grandfather in multiple Instagram posts. “Waking up missing this giant of a man who gave me everything. He taught me and my family about service, family, decency, the power of gentle words and a beautiful heart,” the Today correspondent wrote on Saturday, December 1. “I will miss him desperately but so happy he and my Grandmother are back together.”
“This brought me such comfort this morning. I had the opportunity to talk with my grandpa about the afterlife. This is what he said: He answered without any hesitation,” Hager recalled. “’Yes, I think about it. I used to be afraid. I used to be scared of dying. I used to worry about death. But now in some ways I look forward to it.’ And I started crying. I managed to choke out, ‘Well, why? What do you look forward to?’ And he said, ‘Well, when I die, I’m going to be reunited with these people that I’ve lost.’ And I asked who he hoped to see. He replied, I hope to see Robin, and I hope to see my mom.”
The 41st president’s son, George W., honored his father after news of his passing. “Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear dad has died,” the 72-year-old politician’s statement read. “George H.W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. 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.”
Son Jeb Bush tweeted, “I already miss the greatest human being that I will ever know. Love you Dad!”
Barack Obama released a statement on Twitter on Friday: “America has lost a patriot and humble servant in George Herbert Walker Bush. While our hearts are heavy today, they are also filled with gratitude. Not merely for the years he spent as our 41st president, but for the more than 70 years he spent in devoted service to the country he loved … After 73 years of marriage, George and Barbara Bush are together again now, two points of light that never dimmed, two points of light that ignited countless others with their example.”
Dan Quayle, who served as Bush’s vice president, paid tribute to his former colleague. “As so many Americans did, I had true affection for the man George Bush,” he said. “He was a completely genuine, decent and honorable person. What’s more, he went into and out of the office as absolutely the same man. I think that exemplifies his character. I have often told my children, ‘If you want a role model in your life — look to President George Herbert Walker Bush.’ The world mourns the loss of a great American. But it also celebrates a life well lived.”
Keep scrolling for more reactions:
Hillary and I mourn the passing of President George H. W. Bush, and give thanks for his great long life of service, love and friendship. I am grateful for every minute I spent with him and will always hold our friendship as one of my life’s greatest gifts. https://t.co/1CYdrIeKmz
— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) December 1, 2018
Statement from President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on the Passing of Former President George H.W. Bush pic.twitter.com/qxPsp4Ggs7
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 1, 2018
— Al Gore (@algore) December 1, 2018
My heart aches knowing George Bush 41 has passed. An authentic caring human being who never hid his truth. He will always remind us 2 exemplify that winning will never be our legacy. His love for life and family will live on. RIP dear soul.
— Goldie Hawn (@goldiehawn) December 1, 2018
I will never forget George H.W. Bush and President Clinton meeting me in my old hometown of New Orleans to show support and raise money after Hurricane Katrina. I send my love to his family tonight.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) December 1, 2018
President Bush has left us for one last flight but his destination isn’t unknown. He’s flying into the arms of the love of his life, Barbara. This evening, each of us should take a minute to look up and offer him a silent thanks. FULL STATEMENT: https://t.co/XbuFYztrmg
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) December 1, 2018
President George H.W. Bush served our country honorably. He and Barbara will be remembered for their humble and devoted service to the country they loved. Jane and I send our deepest condolences to the entire Bush family.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 1, 2018
Today I join all Americans in honoring the extraordinary legacy of President George H.W. Bush. Although we are only 25 years removed from his presidency, I believe history’s verdict to be clear: he was one of the finest international statesmen to ever lead our country. #bush41 pic.twitter.com/PTFdTeshZr
— Madeleine Albright (@madeleine) December 1, 2018
George H.W. Bush was an American patriot who lived his life and served our country with dignity. From joining the Navy during WWII to the presidency, his devotion to public service was unmatched. Bruce and I send our heartfelt condolences to his family.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) December 1, 2018
My condolences to the Bush family on their tremendous loss. President George H W Bush spent his life in service to our country. Though I didn’t agree with most of his policies, I appreciate and respect his dedication as our President and VP, and his love of our country.
— Chaz Bono (@ChazBono) December 1, 2018