Lyndon Baines Johnson died at his ranch at 4:39 p.m. on January 22, 1973 at age 64, from a third myocardial infarction (heart attack). His death came two days after Nixon's second Inaugural, and on the same day that a ceasefire was signed in Vietnam and almost a month after another former president Harry S. Truman died. His health had been affected by years of drinking, heavy smoking and stress; the former president had severe heart disease. He had his first, nearly-fatal, heart attack in July 1955 and suffered a second one in April 1972, but had been unable to quit smoking after he left the oval office. He was found dead by Secret Service agents, in his bed, with a telephone in his hand. (The Age, January 23, 1973, pg 1)
The CBS Evening News was in progress that evening when Johnson's press secretary Tom Johnson (no relation) called the network. CBS News cut off a videotaped report on peace talks in Vietnam and switched back to Walter Cronkite, who was on the phone with Tom Johnson. Cronkite asked him to stand by, then reported the death of the 36th President.
Johnson was honored with a state funeral in which Texas Congressman J. J. Pickle and former Secretary of State Dean Rusk eulogized him at the Capitol. The final services took place on January 25. The funeral was held at the National City Christian Church in Washington, D.C., where he had often worshiped as president. The service was presided over by President Richard Nixon and attended by foreign dignitaries such as former Japanese prime minister Eisaku Satō, who served as Japanese prime minister during Johnson's presidency. Eulogies were given by the Rev. Dr. George Davis, the church's pastor, and W. Marvin Watson, former postmaster general. Nixon did not speak, though he attended, as is customary for presidents during state funerals, but the eulogists turned to him and lauded him for his tributes, as Rusk did the day before.
Johnson was buried in his family cemetery (which can be viewed today by vis...