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Former President Ford dies at 93

Story Highlights

• Ford had battled pneumonia in January 2006 and underwent two heart treatments
• Was only president never elected to vice president or president
• Survived by wife, three sons and a daughter
• President Bush to make another statement at 8 a.m. EST
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RANCHO MIRAGE, California (CNN) -- Former President Gerald Ford, who became president in 1974 after the resignation of Richard Nixon, died Tuesday at age 93.

Ford, the oldest surviving former U.S. president, died peacefully at 6:45 p.m. PT (9:45 p.m. ET) Tuesday at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, according to a statement from his office. The cause of death was not given.

A statement from Ford's wife, Betty, said: "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. His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country." (Watch how Ford's theme was 'a return to honesty' Video)

The nation's 38th president spent several days in the fall of 2006 at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage for medical tests. At the time of his release, on October 16, his chief of staff, Penny Circle, said he would "resume normal activities."

In August, he was discharged from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, after undergoing an angioplasty procedure to reduce or eliminate blockages in his coronary arteries. Doctors also implanted a pacemaker to improve his heart performance.

He is survived by his wife; three sons, Michael, Jack and Steven; and a daughter, Susan.

President Bush issued a statement saying that he and first lady Laura Bush were "greatly saddened" to hear of the former president's death.

"President Ford was a great American who gave many years of dedicated service to our country," Bush said. "On August 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, common sense, 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 White House said that Bush would make another statement at 8 a.m. EST Wednesday in Crawford, Texas.

CNN Senior National Correspondent John King contributed to this report.

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Former President Gerald Ford

At 93, Gerald Ford was the oldest living former U.S. president.




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