Former President Bush Released from Intensive Care

Former U.S. president George H.W. Bush is on the mend and has been released from intensive care, his spokesman says.

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Former President George HW Bush
Former President George HW Bush

Former U.S. president George H.W. Bush is on the mend and has been released from intensive care, a spokesman said Saturday.

"President Bush's condition has improved, so he has been moved today from the intensive care unit to a regular patient room at The Methodist Hospital to continue his recovery," spokesman Jim McGrath said, according to AFP.

"The Bushes thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes," added McGrath.

Earlier in the week, McGrath said Bush had taken a turn for the worse, with a "series of setbacks" sending the 88-year-old to the intensive care unit at the Houston, Texas hospital with a "stubborn fever."

Bush, the oldest surviving former U.S. president, was first admitted to the hospital on November 7 for bronchitis treatment and released on November 19. But he was readmitted four days later after his cough flared up again.

Doctors had hoped to have the elder statesman home for Christmas, but he was instead forced to spend the holiday in the hospital, where he was joined by his wife Barbara, son Neil and grandson Pierce.

Bush, a Republican, served just a single term in the White House from 1989 to 1993, despite sending U.S. troops to victory in Iraq in the first Gulf War and expelling Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait.

The decorated World War II veteran served in a number of top government posts, including as vice president to Ronald Reagan, director of the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

On Thursday, Norman Schwarzkopf, the U.S. general who, under Bush, drove Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait in 1991 as commander of the lightning campaign known as Operation Desert Storm, died at the age of 78.

Bush was among the first to issue a statement mourning the loss of the man he chose to lead the war that came to define both of their careers.

"Barbara and I mourn the loss of a true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation," his statement said.

"General Norm Schwarzkopf, to me, epitomized the 'duty, service, country' creed that has defended our freedom and seen this great nation through our most trying international crises," Bush said.

"More than that, he was a good and decent man -- and a dear friend. Barbara and I send our condolences to his wife Brenda and his wonderful family."