Former US first lady Barbara Bush was known for her fierce tongue and witty remarks.

It probably should not come as any surprise then that the 92-year-old was cracking jokes right up until her death yesterday.

Her eldest son, and former US President George W. Bush, said in his first interview since his mother's death that she was in good spirits.

In this Nov. 14, 1988, file photo, President-elect George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, are shown during a morning beachfront news conference in Gulf Stream, Florida. Photo / AP
In this Nov. 14, 1988, file photo, President-elect George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, are shown during a morning beachfront news conference in Gulf Stream, Florida. Photo / AP

He said she told her doctor that her son "is the way he is" because she "drank and smoked when (she) was pregnant with him."

Advertisement

Mr Bush said his mother "was warm and wonderful, until you got out of line."

He said she did not fear death because she believed in an afterlife and that she would be "wonderfully received in the arms of a loving God."

Barbara Bush famously delivered a jab to son, Jeb Bush, when he was running for US President.

"The best news of the day was that my mum finally said I was her favourite," Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, quipped to his mum.

"Oh no I didn't," she said laughing. "You mean of all of the children?"

"Yeah," Bush deadpanned.

"No," she quipped.

Former President George H.W. Bush said he's always known and would tease his wife that she was "the most beloved woman in the world" and that he "had a complex about that fact".

In a 1990 photo, first lady Barbara Bush poses with her dog Millie in Washington. Photo / AP
In a 1990 photo, first lady Barbara Bush poses with her dog Millie in Washington. Photo / AP
Jeanne Wagner pauses after signing a condolence book at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Photo / AP
Jeanne Wagner pauses after signing a condolence book at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Photo / AP

In a statement released by Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath, the nation's 41st president says the outpouring of love and friendship following his wife's death "is lifting us all up."

He also referred to her as "The Enforcer," a term of endearment bestowed by her family.

Former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush are interviewed Mornings with Maria Bartiromo. Photo / AP
Former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush are interviewed Mornings with Maria Bartiromo. Photo / AP

Mr Bush says he has faith his wife "is in heaven, and we know life will go on - as she would have it." He adds: "So cross the Bushes off your worry list."

In this 1999, file photo, former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, left, chats with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, right, as Barbara Bush looks on. Photo / AP
In this 1999, file photo, former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, left, chats with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, right, as Barbara Bush looks on. Photo / AP