Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th president of the United States,
died Friday (April 22, 1994), four days after suffering a stroke
that had left him in a deep coma. He was 81.
The former president died at 8:08 p.m. St. Louis time at New
York Hospital, said a spokeswoman. She said his family had been
Mr. Nixon was the only president in American history to resign
from office. He was driven from office by the Watergate scandal,
resigning on Aug. 9, 1974, in the face of certain impeachment.
His daughters, Julie Nixon Eisenhower and Tricia Nixon Cox,
were at his bedside when he died.
Shortly after the announcement, the body was taken away from
the hospital to a funeral home in Newark, New Jersey, where it will
remain until it is flown Tuesday to Yorba Linda, Calif., for burial
Services were scheduled for Wednesday at the Richard M. Nixon
Presidential Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda. A private
interment will follow at the library near the grave of his wife,
Pat, who died last year.
Soon after the news was announced, the flag was lowered to
half-staff over the White House.
All three television networks interrupted regular programming
to announce the death and to present highlights of his career. The
news drew expressions of sorrow from political friends and former
President Bill Clinton, speaking from the White House Rose
Garden, said Nixon had been "a statesman who sought to build a
lasting structure of peace." He said that his relationship with
Nixon had been warm and that he had been "deeply grateful for his
wise counsel on many occasions."
It is traditional for a sitting president to make the formal
announcement of the death of one of his predecessors.
The president said Nixon had had "the wisdom to know when the
time was right to reach out to the Soviet Union and China."
"He experienced his fair share of adversity," Clinton said of
Clinton said he had spoken to Nixon's daughters and that he
planned to attend Nixon's funeral in California.
From Los Angeles, former President Ronald Reagan said: "To
Nancy and I, he was a cherished friend and brilliant counselor.
Richard Nixon understood the world. He understood politics, power
and the fragile yet undeniable force of history. There is no
question that the legacy of this complicated and fascinating man
will continue to guide the forces of democracy forever."
Connecticut Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr., once a fierce critic of
the Watergate scandal, said: "Past differences are now history. I
wish him God's care and peace."
Nixon was brought to the hospital after suffering the stroke
Monday night at his home in Park Ridge, N.J.
He was partly paralyzed on the right side and unable to speak
even before he slipped into the coma Thursday.
In the hours after the stroke, doctors said Nixon was out of
grave danger, alert and in good spirits. He was moved out of
intensive care briefly Tuesday but returned two hours later when
doctors discovered a swelling of the brain.
Doctors sometimes try to reduce brain swelling after a stroke
by using a respirator to speed up breathing. Nixon was not put on a
respirator. He had left a living will, and several news
organizations reported that it included instructions that he not be
Nixon's stroke apparently was the result of a blood clot that
formed in his heart and moved to the brain's middle cerebral
artery. The blockage deprived this crucial cranial region of
oxygen, damaging some brain tissue and causing the swelling.
During his hospitalization the Rev. Billy Graham, an old
friend, stopped by to visit Nixon's daughters.
Foreign leaders sent letters of encouragement, including
Russian President Boris Yeltsin, whose telegram said, "I hope you
recover and return to the rough and tumble of political life. …