William McKinley was 58 years old on September 13, 1901. Lying in a coma at the home of John Milburn, where he was taken following surgery, the President was given oxygen which revived him. He asked for his wife. Frail herself, she was doing the best she could to handle the strain. Meanwhile, the press and concerned citizens awaited briefings outside the Milburn house.
Drifting in and out of consciousness, the President looked for Ida each time he opened his eyes. When he saw her he whispered:
Nearer my God to Thee.
Mrs. McKinley knew her husband was dying. People in the room looked away so the couple could have privacy. It was time to say their good-byes.
Clutching his wife's hand, the President tried to speak. The woman he loved put her ear to his mouth and heard him say:
God's will, not ours, be done.
The First Lady smiled at the President, but she could not hold back her tears. William McKinley then spoke his last words to everyone in the room:
It is God's way.
As he lapsed back into a coma, the President's pulse grew fainter. By 2:16 a.m. on September 14, 1901 the pulse was gone. With tears streaming down his face, Dr. Rixey, McKinley's personal physician, made the official announcement:
It is over. The President is dead.