Former U.S. president George H.W. Bush has been having a very tumultuous year.
In addition to struggling with his health, which saw him hospitalized multiple times over the last few months, the 41st head of state lost his beloved wife, Barbara, in April.
The couple were married for 73 years before the former first lady passed away at the age of 92, after suffering from a number of complications, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as well as congestive heart failure and Graves' disease.
Unfortunately, three months later, Bush, 94, is mourning the loss of another person whom he also cared for.
On July 20, Bush's heart doctor, Dr. Mark Hausknecht, was making his way to work around 9 a.m. when he was fatally shot in a drive-by bicycle shooting.
According to a press release from the Houston Police Department, Hausknecht was riding his bike when another cyclist going in the opposite direction fired a couple of rounds at him.
The 65-year-old cardiologist was taken to Ben Taub General Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
Houston Methodist Hospital, which is where Hausknecht worked, confirmed the news of his tragic death in a statement.
I'm very sorry to inform you that Dr. Mark Hausknecht, a cardiologist who was an important member of the Houston Methodist staff and the DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, was tragically shot and killed this morning while riding his bicycle to work.
Mark was a leader in the Houston Cardiovascular Associates and specialized in cardiovascular disease. He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine and completed his residency and fellowship at The John Hopkins Hospital. He is a longtime Houston Methodist-affiliated physician and has been in practice for almost four decades.
When the news of Hausknecht's sudden death reached Bush, he also immediately released a statement through his spokesman Jim McGrath.
The retired politician said he was "deeply saddened" by his doctor's death and "sends his most sincere condolences to the Hausknecht family, his colleagues at Houston Methodist, and his friends."
He added, "Mark was a fantastic cardiologist and a good man. I will always be grateful for his exceptional, compassionate care. His family is in our prayers."
Since he fled the scene, police have not yet identified the suspect or a motive, but they have released a sketch based on the description they have obtained from a surveillance footage.
"This is a crime that doesn't make sense," Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Saturday, reported the Houston Chronicle. "We don't even have a motive yet."
"We're still hopeful that the community in his neighborhood and on his path to work will all look through their home cameras and business video and review them to see if they see the doctor riding to work- and if they see anyone following him," Acevedo said.
The man is described as white or Hispanic, who is about 30 years old. The clean-shaven killer is believed to measure around 5 feet 10 inches tall, and has a slender build. According to the newspaper, he was wearing a gray warm-up jacket, khaki shorts, a tan baseball cap and sunglasses. He was last seen riding a light-colored mountain bike fleeing the scene.
It's unclear if Hausknecht had any children, but he is survived by his wife and fellow doctor, Dr. Georgia Hseih. A day after the tragedy, she paid tribute to her husband and had a few words to say about the nation's gun laws.
After spending his adult life saving and prolonging the lives of others, my talented husband, Dr. Mark Hausknecht, had his life prematurely ended. 'Senseless' has become a trite adjective to describe these tragedies, but what is senseless is the misguided notion that any society with more guns is a safer society.
When students cannot go to school without fear, and teachers need to arm themselves, what has this country come to? As a trained emergency medicine physician, I am no stranger to the devastating consequences of both intentional and accidental firearm use. Now my family and I have joined the ranks of the tens of thousands of other grieving Americans who lose innocent loved ones each year.
There are people speculating that the shooting was targeted since Hausknecht was such a high-profile doctor, however, we won't know the truth until the suspect is caught.
What an awful tragedy. I hope police are able to catch the man soon, so he can be brought to justice as soon as possible.