George HW Bush was admitted to an intensive care unit on Wednesday, and his wife, Barbara, was hospitalized as a precaution, according to his spokesman.
The former president was admitted to the ICU at a Houston hospital to “address an acute respirator problem stemming from pneumonia”, a family spokesman, Jim McGrath, said in a statement. McGrath said the former first lady was hospitalized as a precaution after experiencing fatigue and coughing.
George Bush was taken to the hospital over the weekend for shortness of breath. McGrath said earlier Wednesday that the 92-year-old Bush was responding well to treatments.
The 41st president was admitted to Houston Methodist hospital on Saturday, McGrath said in an email to the Associated Press.
“Doctors and everyone are very pleased, and we hope to have him out soon,” McGrath said.
Bush’s chief of staff, Jean Becker, told the Houston Chronicle and KHOU-TV that Bush was expected to go home in a couple of days.
Bush, who served as US president from 1989 to 1993, has a form of Parkinson’s disease and uses a motorized scooter or a wheelchair for mobility. He was hospitalized in Maine in 2015 after falling at his summer home and breaking a bone in his neck, and was hospitalized in Houston the previous December for about a week for shortness of breath. He spent Christmas 2012 in intensive care for a bronchitis-related cough and other issues.
Despite the loss of mobility, Bush celebrated his 90th birthday by making a tandem parachute jump in Kennebunkport, Maine. Last summer, Bush led a group of 40 wounded warriors on a fishing trip at the helm of his speedboat, three days after his 92nd birthday celebration.
Bush’s office announced earlier this month that he and his wife of more than 70 years, Barbara, would not attend Donald Trump’s inauguration this week due to the former president’s age and health.
George Herbert Walker Bush, born 12 June 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts, also served as a congressman, CIA director and Ronald Reagan’s vice-president.
His son, George W Bush, was elected president in 2000 and served two terms. Another son, Jeb – a former Florida governor – made an unsuccessful bid for the GOP nomination in 2016. Only one other US president, John Adams, had a son who also became president.
By David Ingram and Brendan O’Brien
(Reuters) – Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush has been moved to an intensive-care unit at a Houston hospital with pneumonia and was stable and resting comfortably after doctors performed a procedure to clear his airway, his office said on Wednesday.
His wife of 72 years, former first lady Barbara Bush, also was admitted to the same hospital on Wednesday as a precaution after experiencing fatigue and coughing, the office said in a statement.
Bush, who at 92 is the nation’s oldest living ex-president, has been at Houston Methodist Hospital since Saturday after experiencing shortness of breath, family spokesman Jim McGrath said on Wednesday.
Since then, Bush experienced an “acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia” and was sedated for the unspecified procedure, his office said.
He will remain in the hospital’s intensive-care unit for observation, his office said.
Bush and the 91-year-old former first lady marked their 72nd anniversary on Jan. 6.
At a White House news conference, President Barack Obama said that the Bushes have been a constant source of friendship and good counsel to him and to first lady Michelle Obama.
“They are as fine a couple as we know, and so we want to send our prayers and our love to them,” Obama said.
Bush is the father of former President George W. Bush and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who sought the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
The eldest Bush, a Republican like his sons, was vice president during Ronald Reagan’s two White House terms before being elected president in 1988. He lost his re-election bid to Bill Clinton, then the Democratic governor of Arkansas, in 1992.
A naval pilot during World War Two, Bush became an occasional skydiver after leaving the presidency and marked his 90th birthday by parachuting from a helicopter with jump partner.
He has used a wheelchair in recent years and was hospitalized twice in 2014, once for seven weeks with pneumonia and again for breathing difficulties. In July 2015, he broke a bone in his neck in a fall at the family home in Maine.
Bush and his wife were already planning to miss President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday due to health reasons.
“My doctor says if I sit outside in January, it likely will put me six feet under,” Bush wrote to Trump on Jan. 10, according to a copy of the letter released on Wednesday. “Same for Barbara. So I guess we’re stuck in Texas.”
Trump was critical of George W. and Jeb during the 2016 presidential campaign, and their father did not endorse Trump in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
But in his letter, Bush said he and his wife would be with Trump in spirit at the inauguration and wished him “the very best as you begin this incredible journey of leading our great country.”
Republican Senator John McCain and the Carter Center, founded by former President Jimmy Carter, posted tweets wishing Bush a quick recovery.
In December Bush marked the 75th commemoration of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor by attending a ceremony at his library at Texas A&M University.
(Reporting by David Ingram in New York and Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Bill Trott and Diane Craft)