Former president George H.W. Bush at the White House on May 31.
(Mandel Ngan, AFP/Getty Images)
(USA Today) -- Former President George H.W. Bush was discharged Monday from the hospital in Houston where he spent several weeks receiving treatment for bronchitis, a bacterial infection and a persistent cough, his spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement.
Dr. Amy Mynderse, the internal medicine physician in charge of the former president's care, added that Bush "has improved to the point that he will not need any special medication when he goes home, but he will continue physical therapy."
Bush, who's been hospitalized in Houston since November 23, said he was "deeply grateful" for the doctors and nurses at The Methodist Hospital.
"Let me add just how touched we were by the many get-well messages we received from our friends and fellow Americans," Bush said in the statement. "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."
He was moved out of the hospital's intensive care unit just over two weeks ago. He was listed in guarded condition while he received treatment for what McGrath called "a stubborn fever."
Doctors were at several points optimistic that his release was imminent. McGrath said in December that Bush had been undergoing physical therapy in preparation for discharge.
After release from the intensive care unit, McGrath said Bush's "exchanges with doctors and nurses now include singing." He received visits from family members including his wife over the Christmas holiday, and was serenaded by the gospel-turned-country quartet of the 1970s and '80s the Oak Ridge Boys.
Oak member Joe Bonsall said of their telephone performance for the former president, "We asked what song he would like to hear and he said 'Elvira,' so we blasted some 'oom pop a mau mau's' in the direction of Houston, Texas."
Four months older than former President Jimmy Carter, the 88 year-old Bush is the oldest of the living former presidents.