Nixon Dies after Days in Coma
Compiled From News Services, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
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 with him.
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 Wednesday.
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 foes.
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 Nixon.
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 resuscitated.
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. …