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Former US president George Bush Sr in intensive care due to respiratory illness

The former US president’s wife Barbara has also been hospitalised as a precaution.

George HW Bush George HW Bush pictured in April 2016 Source: David J. Phillip

Updated 7pm

FORMER US PRESIDENT George HW Bush was admitted to an intensive care unit today, and his wife Barbara was hospitalised as a precaution, according to his spokesman.

The former president was admitted to the ICU at a Houston hospital to “address an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia,” family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement. McGrath said the former first lady was hospitalised 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 today 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.

History of illnesses

Bush, who served as US president from 1989 to 1993, has a form of Parkinson’s disease and uses a motorised scooter or a wheelchair for mobility.

He was hospitalised in Maine in 2015 after falling at his summer home and breaking a bone in his neck, and was hospitalised 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.

Political involvement

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.

With reporting from Cianan Brennan

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