Barbara Bush treated for bronchitis in same hospital as ex-president Bush

Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Former first lady Barbara Bush is being treated for bronchitis at the same Houston hospital where her husband, former U.S. president George H.W. Bush, is in an intensive-care unit with pneumonia, a Bush family spokesman said on Thursday.

George Bush, who at 92 is the nation's oldest living ex-president, has been at Houston Methodist Hospital since Saturday after experiencing shortness of breath, according to family spokesman Jim McGrath.

An update on the health of Bushes is expected later on Thursday, McGrath said in an email to Reuters.

Barbara Bush, 91, was admitted to the same hospital on Wednesday as a precaution after experiencing fatigue and coughing. She was diagnosed with bronchitis, McGrath said.

The Bushes marked their 72nd wedding anniversary on Jan. 6. Prior to being hospitalized, they had said they would not attend the inauguration of Republican Donald Trump as president on Friday due to health concerns.

In a letter to the president-elect, Bush said he and his wife would be with Trump in spirit at the inauguration and wished him "the very best as you begin this incredible journey of leading our great country."

Bush, a Republican, did not endorse Trump in his race against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Trump tweeted a get-well message to the Bushes and outgoing President Barack Obama praised them as constant source of friendship and counsel.

The Bushes are the parents of former President George W. Bush and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who sought the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

The eldest Bush was vice president during Ronald Reagan's two White House terms before being elected president in 1988. He lost his re-election bid to Bill Clinton four years later.

Bush has used a wheelchair in recent years and was hospitalized twice in 2014, once for seven weeks with pneumonia and again for breathing difficulties. In July 2015, he broke a bone in his neck in a fall at the family home in Maine.