What Is Vascular Parkinsonism? George H.W. Bush Dies Aged 94 After Battling Illness

Former President George H.W. Bush died Friday at the age of 94. Bush's cause of death was not immediately known but in his later years he battled multiple illnesses including vascular parkinsonism

"Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died," his son, former President George W. Bush, said in a statement released by family spokesman Jim McGrath. "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."

The 41st president suffered from vascular parkinsonism, a rare condition that "mimics Parkinson's disease," according to the Associated Press. The condition is marked by a series of small strokes that affect movement, instead of the loss of nerve cells that is typical in Parkinson's disease.

"It just affects the legs," Bush told Parade magazine of the condition in 2012. "It's not painful. You tell your legs to move, and they don't move. It's strange, but if you have to have some bad-sounding disease, this is a good one to get."

The former president had been hospitalized in the recent past for respiratory conditions, including a mild case of pneumonia in April 2017. That hospitalization was his third in a year, and Dr. Clint Doerr, a pulmonologist at Houston Methodist Hospital, said he continued to deal with medical conditions.

"While President Bush has recovered from pneumonia, he continues to deal with the effects of chronic bronchitis, which is a condition more prevalent with age," Doerr said at the time, according to ABC News. "This means his airway has a constant, low-level of inflammation that can aggravate the symptoms of pneumonia."

Bush's wife, Former First Lady Barbara Bush, died April 17 at the age of 92. She reportedly suffered from congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. After a series of repeated hospitalizations, she chose not to seek further treatment.

The former president and first lady had been married for 73 years.

Vascular Parkinsonism, George H.W. Bush Dies Aged 94
Former president George H.W. Bush, former president George W. Bush, former first lady Laura Bush and family leave St. Martin's Episcopal Church following the funeral service for former first lady Barbara Bush on April 21, 2018 in Houston, Texas. Brett Coomer/Getty Images
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