Gerald R. Ford, who picked up the pieces of Richard Nixon's scandal-shattered White House as the 38th and only unelected president in America 's history, has died, his wife, Betty, said Tuesday. He was 93.
"My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has passed away at 93 years of age," Mrs. Ford said in a brief statement issued from her husband's office in Rancho Mirage. "His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country."
The statement did not say where or when Ford died or list a cause of death. He was the longest living president, followed by Ronald Reagan, who also died at 93, the AP reports.
President George W. Bush issued a statement Tuesday night in response to the death of former President Gerald Ford:
“Laura and I are greatly saddened by the passing of former President Gerald R. Ford.President Ford was a great American who gave many years of dedicated service to our country. On Aug. 9, 1974, after a long career in the House of Representatives and service as vice president, he assumed the presidency in an hour of national turmoil and division. With his quiet integrity, commonsense and kind instincts, President Ford helped heal our land and restore public confidence in the presidency.
The American people will always admire Gerald Ford's devotion to duty, his personal character and the honorable conduct of his administration. We mourn the loss of such a leader, and our 38th president will always have a special place in our nation's memory. On behalf of all Americans, Laura and I offer our deepest sympathies to Betty Ford and all of President Ford's family. Our thoughts and prayers will be with them in the hours and days ahead”, the International Herald Tribune reports.
A former Republican congressman, Ford took office vowing "our long national nightmare is over." He served for 2 1/2 years with a style often mocked as bumbling until he lost the 1976 presidential election to Democrat Jimmy Carter, iol.co.za says.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik