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Hospitalized George H.W. Bush in ‘great spirits’

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(CNN) — Former President George H.W. Bush, who was taken to a Houston hospital after experiencing shortness of breath, will remain in the hospital at least until Friday, his spokesman said.

“President Bush had another terrific day and is in great spirits,” Jim McGrath said in a Christmas Day statement. “He was visited by (former first lady Barbara) Bush as well as his son Neil and daughter-in-law Maria Bush, and has received well-wishes from family, friends and fellow citizens.”

McGrath said that Bush “asked that his sincere wishes for a very Merry Christmas be extended to one and all.”

In a statement Wednesday, a day after the hospitalization, McGrath said Bush’s prognosis “remains very positive” and he was remaining at the medical facility “as a precaution.”

Aides stressed this hospitalization is different from what the former president faced two years ago when he had to spend two months, including Christmas, hospitalized after suffering bronchitis and a persistent cough.

“The Bush family certainly appreciates all your prayers, love and concern. This is not two years ago. It’s a hiccup. He should come home in a few days,” Jean Becker, Bush’s chief of staff, said in a statement in reaction to the outpouring of concern for him.

Bush, 90, a Republican, served as the nation’s 41st president and is the father of the 43rd president, George W. Bush.

While suffering from a form of Parkinson’s disease that confines him to a wheelchair or a scooter, the elder Bush has been active recently.

He jumped out of a helicopter to celebrate his 90th birthday in June and participated in the coin toss at a Houston Texans professional football game last month. There he showed up on the “Kiss Cam,” which captured him and Barbara smooching. He also appeared last month with his son George at an event to unveil his new book, “41: A Portrait of My Father.”

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