FORMER first lady Barbara Bush is in “failing health” and won’t seek additional medical treatment, a spokesman for the family has said.
In a news release on Sunday, Jim McGrath said: “Following a recent series of hospitalisations, and after consulting her family and doctors, Mrs. Bush, now age 92, has decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will instead focus on comfort care.”
McGrath did not say what health problems Bush was suffering from.
For decades, she has received treatment for Graves’ disease – an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid.
She had heart surgery in 2009 and was hospitalised a year before that for surgery on a perforated ulcer.
McGrath said: “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.
“She is surrounded by a family she adores, and appreciates the many kind messages and especially the prayers she is receiving.”
Bush, who is at home in Houston, is one of only two first ladies who was also the mother of a president.
The other was Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, the nation’s second president, and mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president.
Bush married George H.W. Bush – not to be confused with her son George W. Bush – on Jan. 6, 1945.
The couple have six children and have been married longer than any presidential couple in American history.
Eight years after she and her husband left the White House, they stood together and watched as their son George W. was sworn in as the 43rd president.
President Donald Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said: “The President’s and first lady’s prayers are with all of the Bush family during this time.”
Barbara Bush is known for her white hair and her triple-strand fake pearl necklace.
She credited the colour to the public’s perception of her as “everybody’s grandmother”.
Her pearls sparked a national fashion trend when she wore them to her husband’s inauguration in 1989.
She later said that she selected them to hide the wrinkles in her neck – a candid admission bolstered her down-to-earth public image.
Her 93-year-old husband, the nation’s 41st president who served from 1989 to 1993, has also had health issues in recent years.
He has a form of Parkinson’s disease and uses a motorized scooter or a wheelchair for mobility.
Barbara Pierce Bush, who was born on June 8, 1925, in Rye, New York, started The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy began during her White House years, with the goal of improving the lives of disadvantaged Americans by boosting literacy among parents and their children.
The foundation partners with local programs and had awarded more than 40-million US dollars as of 2014 to create or expand more than 1,500 literacy programs nationwide.
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