Irish tenor Ronan Tynan was with George Bush on his last day on earth, summoned to the former president's home in Houston in a gated community on the day he died.
At the request of Bush’s friends, Tynan sang two songs for the dying president, the first “Silent Night,” the second an Irish language song. He will sing once again today at the former President's funeral.
As he sang “Silent Night,” Bush's closest friend Jim Baker said, “Believe it or not, the president was mouthing the words. It was a really sweet thing,” Baker told the Washington Post.
Tynan had been a guest at George Bush’s 90th birthday party and the two men had been friends for years. He also sang at George W. Bush’s second inauguration.
Tynan's own courageous story resonated with Bush. He had both legs amputated after a car crash, yet went on to become a doctor and a paralympics athlete before embarking on his music career.
It was the second time Tynan had been asked to sing for a sombre presidential occasion At Nancy Reagan’s invitation, he sang at the funeral of Ronald Reagan. His rendition of ”Amazing Grace” was heard across the globe. He has also sung for President George W. Bush as well as Pope Benedict.
Tynan has come a long way from his upbringing on a small farm in Ireland. He has credited his mother and her strong will with keeping his ambition and work ethic alive despite some tough setbacks.
He recently stated “My mom knew exactly what she wanted for all her children, especially me. She carved my footsteps in the sand, you could say.
“When someone is as strong as that for you, it’s a kind of tough-love episode in your life…and so your warmth towards her at the beginning is a little less because, on the other side, you have a father who absolutely dotes on you. You have a mother who is determined to do everything that makes it possible for so many great things to happen; she has to take the hard road.”