Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt mourned the death of former first lady Barbara Bush, calling her a “beautiful light in this world” and expressing gratitude for her friendship.
Following news of her death, the Texans defensive end, who cultivated a friendship with Bush over the years, released a touching statement via Twitter.
“Rest In Peace Mrs. Barbara Bush,” Watt wrote. “You were a beautiful light in this world and I am forever thankful for your friendship.”
Rest In Peace Mrs. Barbara Bush.
You were a beautiful light in this world and I am forever thankful for your friendship. pic.twitter.com/yuZvQ7o8aH
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) April 17, 2018
Watt attached several photos that had previously been taken of him and Bush, including one where the former first lady was wearing shoulder pads.
That photo was taken when Watt and Bush teamed up for a project promoting literacy, according to The Houston Chronicle.
“I’m looking at her, I’m like, this is the former first lady of the United States and she has shoulder pads on and eye black and she’s with me and we’re talking literacy and she’s cracking jokes with me between takes,” Watt said recently of that interaction.
“I was like, I don’t know what gets better than this. It was special. I’ve been over to her house and we’ve have had cookies together and we’ve done events. She’s just as sweet as can be and is a lot of fun to hang around with and I’m very fortunate to know her,” he added, speaking just days before Bush died.
Watt also said that despite her failing health and advanced age, Bush was able to “put a smile on your face.”
“She can crack a joke with the best of them even up in her 90s. She’s an awesome woman,” Watt said.
In addition to honoring the former first lady on his personal Twitter page after news broke of her death, Watt also used his foundation’s Twitter account to pay tribute.
Mrs. Bush was a positive example & inspiration to us all. She will forever be remembered for her sense of humor, her passion to educate others through her literacy program, and of course, her incredible love for her family. We send our deepest sympathy to the entire Bush Family. pic.twitter.com/2fXBJyFn3F
— JJ Watt Foundation (@JJWFoundation) April 18, 2018
The Astros family is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Barbara Bush. pic.twitter.com/Or8tkBFspW
— Houston Astros (@astros) April 18, 2018
“Today is a very sad day for our city and for our entire nation. As First Lady, Mrs. Bush epitomized grace, dignity and strength. As a humanitarian, she impacted the lives of so many young people through the work of her Foundation for literacy and more,” Reid Ryan, the Astros’ president of business operations, said in a written statement.
“As Houstonians and frequent visitors to Minute Maid Park to watch their beloved Astros, we had the great privilege of getting to know Mrs. Bush and President Bush personally. While at the ballpark, both always greeted everyone from the ticket-takers to the ushers with a warm, friendly smile,” he added.
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