NEW YORK — Former first lady Barbara Bush is in failing health and will not seek additional medical care after a series of recent hospitalizations, a spokesman for the Bush family said Sunday. Bush, 92, will “instead focus on comfort care” for unspecified health complications, according to a statement.
Bush is the wife of former President George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States who is now 93, and mother of 43rd President George W. Bush. She is only the second first lady in American history whose son also ascended to the nation’s highest office, the other being Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams and mother of John Quincy Adams.
“It will not surprise those who know her that Barbara Bush has been a rock in the face of her failing health, worrying not for herself — thanks to her abiding faith — but for others,” a statement from the office of George H.W. Bush said Sunday. “She is surrounded by a family she adores, and appreciates the many kind messages and especially the prayers she is receiving.”
According to Jim McGrath, the Bush family spokesman, the Bushes’ son Marvin, daughter Dorothy, and son Neil are with her. Both George W. Bush and Jeb Bush recently visited but have since left. While they call often, it’s not known when they will return.
George H.W. Bush and and Barbara Bush have been holding hands when he is by her bedside.
They’ve been married for 73 years and have been together for 77 years. When she was in the hospital, he visited at least once a day.
“We are two people, but we are one,” the former president has said, according to McGrath.
Several media outlets have reported the former first lady is suffering from congestive heart failure.
The city of Houston is in the process of building a Barbara Bush Plaza. The former first lady recently told the Mayor of Houston, “You need to get that finished.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that President Trump and first lady Melania Trump’s prayers “are with all of the Bush Family during this time.”
Both Barbara Bush and her husband, who live in Texas, have confronted numerous medical difficulties in recent years. In Jan. 2017, they were both hospitalized for separate health issues and were unable to attend Mr. Trump’s inauguration.
“Barbara and I are so sorry we can’t be there for your inauguration on January 20th. My doctor says if I sit outside in January, it likely will put me six feet under. Same for Barbara. So I guess we’re stuck in Texas,” the former president wrote in a letter to Mr. Trump at the time. “But we will be with you and the country in spirit.”
Barbara Bush was born Barbara Pierce in 1925 in Rye, New York, the third child of Pauline and Marvin Pierce, a magazine executive. She met George Herbert Walker Bush at a school dance in Greenwich, Connecticut, when she was 16. They wed in 1945 when she was 19 and would have six children, one of whom died at the age of 3. Their marriage is the longest of any first couple in U.S. history.