The 38th president of the United States died tonight in Los Angeles.
“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.”
Ford outlived Reagan and ended up being the oldest living president.
President Bush released the following statement:
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.
Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. was the 38th (1974–1977) President of the United States. Ford also served as the 40th (1973–1974) Vice President. He was the first person appointed to the Vice-Presidency under the terms of the 25th Amendment, and upon succession to the presidency became the first (and to date, only) president in U.S. history to fill that office without having been elected either President or Vice-President. He was also the longest-lived United States president ever, having surpassed Ronald Reagan’s record on November 12, 2006.
Ford was born in Omaha, Nebraska. He was originally named Leslie Lynch King, Jr., after his biological father. His parents divorced when he was less than a year old, and when his mother remarried, he was given the name of his step-father, Gerald Rudolff Ford. He later changed the spelling of the middle name. Ford obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, where he was a football star. He went on to obtain a law degree from Yale University before serving in the United States Navy during World War II. Returning from the war a confirmed “internationalist”, Republican Ford defeated the incumbent in the party primary and was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1948, representing the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. He was elected House Minority Leader in 1963 and served in the House until 1973. When Spiro Agnew resigned, Ford was appointed Vice President of the United States at the height of the Watergate scandal, which eventually led to Richard Nixon’s resignation.
The Ford administration saw the withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam, the execution of the Helsinki Accords, and the continuing specter of inflation and recession. Faced with an overwhelmingly Democratic majority in Congress, the administration was hampered in its ability to pass major legislation, and Ford’s vetoes were frequently overridden. Ford was criticized by many for granting a pre-emptive pardon to Nixon, and was subsequently defeated by Democrat Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential election.
Here’s some important dates in Ford’s life.
MSNBC has a picture portrait.