L-R: Secy. Dean Rusk, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Tom Johnson. [LBJ Library photo #A7066-5 by Yoichi Okamoto]

Notes on LBJ’s Death From His Closest Aide

Jan 23, 2013

by Tom Johnson

[posted on The Daily Beast on January 22, 2013]

When the ex-President suddenly died 40 years ago today, aide Tom Johnson was the one who told the world. Here, he recalls Lady Bird’s phone call, President Nixon’s help, and more.

January 22, 1973.

A very sad day for me, for Mrs. LBJ, Lynda and Luci—along with so many others who loved LBJ and who were loved by him.

Mrs. LBJ called me. She said in a solemn yet steady voice: "Tom, we did not make it this time. Lyndon is dead. Please make the announcement and handle the arrangements." (I have notes of that call.) He died at the LBJ Ranch of a heart attack. Secret Service agents Ed Nowland and Harry Harris unsuccessfully tried to revive him. read more