George H W Bush, the former US president and father of George W Bush, has died aged 94.

He served as commander-in-chief from 1989 to 1993 and eight years later watched his son become the country's leader.

The elder Bush had also been a Second World War hero, Texas congressman, CIA director and Ronald Reagan's vice-president.

Family spokesman Jim McGrath said the 41st president died shortly after 10pm on Friday.

Image: George H W Bush served as the 41st US president from 1989 to 1993

George Herbert Walker Bush is survived by five children and their spouses, 17 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, as well as two siblings.

George W Bush, who was the 43rd president, issued a statement following his father's death.

In it, he said: "Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died.

"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," he added, referring to Mr Bush's nickname.

The longest living president in US history, one of his biggest achievements was steering America through the end of the Cold War.

He also saw his popularity swell with America's success in the 1991 Gulf War, where it liberated Kuwait from Iraqi control after just a few days following a massive campaign.

A brief but deep recession saw his popularity evaporate, costing him a second term in office. He was succeeded by Democrat Bill Clinton.

His death comes less than eight months after his wife Barbara died. They had been married for 73 years.

The day after her death, Mr Bush was taken to hospital with a blood infection. He continued to suffer with ill-health during the following months.

The Queen with George and Barbara Bush on May 16 1991 at the British Embassy in Washington
Image: George and Barbara Bush pictured in May 1991 with the Queen and Prince Philip at the British Embassy in Washington

President Donald Trump said George H W Bush "set the stage for the decades of prosperity" following his years in power.

He said he and his wife Melania "join with a grieving nation to mourn the loss of former President George H W Bush".

George Bush Sr was visited by former president Barack Obama two days ago, according to the family's spokesman.

"President @GeorgeHWBush was very pleased to receive President @BarackObama this afternoon during his visit to #Houston. The two had a very pleasant and private visit at the Bush residence, where they rekindled what was already a very warm friendship," Jim McGrath tweeted.

As news of the statesman's death broke, the Obamas issued a statement, saying: "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 forty-first President, but for the more than 70 years he spent in devoted service to the country he loved – from a decorated Naval aviator who nearly gave his life in World War II, to commander-in-chief of our Armed Forces, with plenty of posts along the way."

They added: "Our thoughts are with the entire Bush family tonight – and all who were inspired by George and Barbara's example."

Mr Bush had vascular parkinsonism, a form of Parkinson's disease, and used a wheelchair or motorised scooter for the last six years of his life.

Mr Bush was also vice president of the United States from 1981 to 1989.

During the Second World War, he became the youngest naval pilot at the age of 18 following Japan's attack on Pearl Harbour.

He flew combat missions from the aircraft carrier USS San Jacinto and won the Distinguished Flying Cross.

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In 1944, he was shot down over the Pacific and after desperately paddling his life raft away from a Japanese island and with enemy boats sent out to capture him, he was rescued by a US submarine.

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