(Credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON (AP) - Former President George H.W. Bush was released from a Houston hospital Monday after spending nearly two months being treated for a bronchitis-related cough and other health issues, a family spokesman said.
Bush, 88, the nation's oldest living former president, was admitted to Methodist Hospital Nov. 23 including a week in intensive care last month.
"I am deeply grateful for the wonderful doctors and nurses at Methodist who took such good care of me," Bush said in a statement released by spokesman Jim McGrath. "Let me add just how touched we were by the many get-well messages we received from our friends and fellow Americans. Your prayers and good wishes helped more than you know, and as I head home my only concern is that I will not be able to thank each of you for your kind words."
Bush already had been in the hospital about a month for treatment of the persistent cough in December when his office disclosed he was in intensive care because physicians were having difficulty controlling a fever that developed after the cough was mostly resolved.
On Dec. 29, Bush's office said the former president had improved and was transferred back to a regular hospital room. Since then, his condition has continued to improve and he has been undergoing physical therapy to rebuild his strength.
"Mr. Bush has improved to the point that he will not need any special medication when he goes home, but he will continue physical therapy," Dr. Amy Mynderse, the internal medicine physician in charge of the former president's care, said in Monday's statement.
Bush and his wife, Barbara, live in Houston during the winter and spend their summers at a home in Kennebunkport, Maine. On Jan. 6, they celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary. They are the longest-married presidential couple.
Bush had served two terms as Ronald Reagan's vice president when he was elected in 1988 to be the nation's 41st president. Four years later, after a term highlighted by the success of the 1991 Gulf War in Kuwait, he lost to Democrat Bill Clinton.