George H. W. Bush (image courtesy Getty)

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has expressed sadness at the news of the death of former U.S. President, George H.W. Bush.

Guterres, in a statement released on Saturday, said that the former president was “a leader who served the United States with distinction and supported the United Nations with dedication”.

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Bush, who was U.S. 41st president, was in office from 1989 to 1993, preceded Ronald Reagan and was succeeded by Bill Clinton.

Guterres said: “George H.W. Bush had a long history with the United Nations between 1971 and 1973. He was United States’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

“In 2005, former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, appointed him as Special Envoy for the South Asia Earthquake Disaster.”

He added that “George H. W. Bush worked productively with and through the United Nations.

“Across the years I was consistently impressed by his compassion, instinct for moderation and commitment to public service.

“At this time of loss, I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and the Government and people of the United States.”