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Barbara Bush, 88, hospitalized; 'in great spirits' says family

December 31. 2013 10:05PM

Former first lady Barbara Bush arriving at funeral service for Betty Ford in July, 2011, escorted by former President Clinton, who held office between the terms of Mrs. Bush's husband and her son. (File photo)

Former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush has been hospitalized in Houston for treatment of early signs of a "respiratory-related issue," her husband's office said on Tuesday.

Bush, 88, one of only two women to be both the wife and mother of U.S. presidents, was admitted on Monday to Methodist Hospital in Houston's Texas Medical Center, the statement said.

"She is in great spirits, has already received visits from her husband and family, and is receiving fantastic care," the office of former President George H.W. Bush said in a written statement. "Updates will be issued when warranted."

A hospital spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment. Bush is the wife of George H.W. Bush, the 41st president, and mother of George W. Bush, the 43rd.

Barbara Bush became known to the American public as a genial, down-to-earth woman with a penchant for gardening who said she was more interested in running a household than in helping her husband run the country.

Public opinion polls often showed Bush's popularity as first lady running ahead of the president's, although she put little stock in such polls. After leaving the White House, she continued her interest in promoting literacy and reading, while finding time to write her memoirs.

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