Barbara Bush died April 17 at age 92, two days after the family announced that she had “decided not to seek additional medical treatment” after recent hospitalizations amid her “failing health.”
Her husband, whose own health has been declining, sat in his wheelchair in front of her casket at her funeral Saturday, greeting mourners for 20 minutes.
Bush has been battling a form of Parkinson’s disease and has needed hospital care several times in recent years because of respiratory problems. He also suffered from Graves’s disease, a thyroid ailment, during his presidency. He remains America’s longest-living president, having surpassed Gerald Ford, who died at 93 years and 165 days.
Bush’s 94th birthday is June 12.
In 2012, he was hospitalized for a bronchitis-related cough, spending two months at the hospital, some of it in intensive care. He was hospitalized after experiencing shortness of breath in 2014, and again in 2015 after falling at his Kennebunkport, Maine, home and breaking a bone in his neck. He recovered quickly.
He was hospitalized for 16 days in January 2017 for pneumonia, which included time in the intensive care unit. In April 2017, he was hospitalized for two weeks for a mild case of pneumonia and chronic bronchitis.
CNN reported that Bush was admitted to the hospital Sunday with an infection that led to sepsis, which at his age can be life-threatening. Bush was in critical condition, experiencing drops in his blood pressure, which raised concerns of whether he’d come through, CNN reported. He has since been stabilized.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the former president’s spokesman declined to confirm news reports Monday that Bush was in intensive care.
But McGrath told the Chronicle that Bush is eager to return to his family’s Kennebunkport summer home.
“The 41st president want to go to Maine,” McGrath said, adding that Bush is “the most goal-oriented person on the planet and I would not bet against him.”
Bush served two terms as vice president under Ronald Reagan and then one as president, from 1989 to 1993.
As president, he oversaw the end of the Cold War, and the United States and its allies’ swift defeat of Iraq in the Persian Gulf War.
His chances for reelection, however, were believed to have been doomed by the struggling economy, and he lost his bid to Bill Clinton in 1992.
Sending healing thoughts of strength, along with prayers, for President George HW Bush tonight.— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) April 24, 2018
“Join me in praying for President @GeorgeHWBush and the Bush family as he was hospitalized just a day after his beloved wife was laid to rest,” tweeted the evangelist Franklin Graham, whose late father, Billy, was close friends with the former president.