Jan 18 (Reuters) - Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush has been in a Houston hospital since Saturday after experiencing shortness of breath, a family spokesman said on Wednesday.
Bush, who at 92 is the nation’s oldest living ex-president, has “responded very well to treatments” at the Houston Methodist Hospital, spokesman Jim McGrath said in an email to Reuters.
“Doctors and everyone are very pleased, and we hope to have him out soon,” McGrath wrote.
In a statement released on Wednesday, McGrath also said that Barbara Bush had been admitted to the hospital on Wednesday morning after experiencing fatigue and coughing.
Bush is the father of former President George W. Bush and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who sought the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
The elder 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 with a jump out of a helicopter.
He has used a wheelchair in his later 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 was 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.
He said he and his wife, Barbara, would be with Trump in spirit. “I want you to know that I wish you the very best as you begin this incredible journey of leading our great country,” he wrote.
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 Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Additional reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Bill Trott)