George H.W. Bush staying in hospital through Christmas as ‘a precaution’
Former President George H.W. Bush, who was taken to a Houston hospital Tuesday night after experiencing shortness of breath, will remain in the hospital at least through Christmas Day as a precaution, his spokesman said.
“President Bush had a good day and his prognosis remains very positive. He will remain at the Houston Methodist Hospital tonight as a precaution,” his spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement Wednesday evening.
Aides stressed this hospitalization is different from what the former president faced two years ago when he had to spend two months, including Christmas, hospitalized after suffering bronchitis and a persistent cough.
“The Bush family certainly appreciates all your prayers, love and concern. This is not two years ago. It’s a hiccup. He should come home in a few days,” Jean Becker, Bush’s chief of staff, said in a statement in reaction to the outpouring of concern for him.
Bush, 90, a Republican, served as the nation’s 41st president and is the father of the 43rd president, George W. Bush.
While suffering from a form of Parkinson’s disease that confines him to a wheelchair or a scooter, the elder Bush has been active recently. He jumped out of a helicopter to celebrate his 90th birthday in June and participated in the coin toss at a Houston Texans professional football game last month. There he showed up on the “Kiss Cam,” which captured him and his wife, Barbara, smooching. He also appeared last month with his son at an event to unveil his new book, “41: A Portrait of My Father.”
This year he celebrated the 25th anniversary of his inauguration.
Before becoming president, Bush “senior” served as vice president under Ronald Reagan.
He is a former Navy pilot and flew 58 combat missions in World War II in the Pacific.
Bush was shot down once but was rescued by U.S. sailors, according to his White House biography. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Bush became known for his declaration that the United States should become “a kinder and gentler nation.”
Before going into politics, Bush worked in the Texas oil industry.
President Barack Obama was told about Bush’s hospitalization, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.
“President Obama and the first lady send their good wishes to the former president and the entire Bush family during this holiday season,” he said.