President Lyndon B. Johnson Dies

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 visitors to the Lyndon B. Johnson National Park in Stonewall, Texas), a few yards from the house in which he was born. Eulogies were given by John Connally and the Rev. Billy Graham, the minister who officiated the burial rites.

SAN ANTONIO, Tex., Jan. 22--Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United States, died today of an apparent heart attack suffered at his ranch in Johnson City, Tex.

The 64-year-old Mr. Johnson, whose history of heart illness began in 1955, was pronounced dead on arrival at 4:33 P.M. central time at San Antonio International Airport, where he had been flown in a family plane on the way to Brooke Army Medical Center here.

A spokesman at Austin said that Mr. Johnson's funeral would probably be held Thursday at the National City Christian Church in Washington. He said the body would lie in state at the Johnson Library in Austin from noon tomorrow until 8 A.M. Wednesday, with an honor guard, and then would be taken to Washington, where it will lie in state at the Capitol rotunda until the funeral. Mr. Johnson will be buried at the L.B.J. Ranch.

Death came to the nation's only surviving former President as the nation observed a period of mourning proclaimed less than a month ago for former President Harry S. Truman.

Lyndon Johnson retired to his beloved ranch in Texas where he wrote his memoirs and supervised the building of his Presidential Library and a school of government at the University of Texas at Austin. The Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas is named for him. On January 22, 1973, just five days before the Treaty ending the Vietnam War was signed, Lyndon Baines Johnson died in Texas, of a heart attack.