UPDATE: Jenna Bush Hager shares emotional update on grandma Barbara Bush: 'She's a fighter'
Former first lady Barbara Bush is in "failing health" and won't seek additional medical treatment, a Bush family spokesman said Sunday.
UPDATE: Jenna Bush Hager said her grandmother, former first lady Barbara Bush, is in “great spirits" and resting comfortably with family members.
“She’s a fighter. She's an enforcer,” the TODAY anchor said Monday, referring to the family's nickname for the matriarch. “We’re grateful for her, for everybody’s prayers and thoughts, and just know the world is better because she’s in it.”
The 92-year-old former first lady announced Sunday through a family spokesman that she had decided against seeking additional medical treatment to prolong her life. The wife of former President George H.W. Bush instead planned to focus on “comfort care” after consulting with doctors and her loved ones.
No specific illness was provided but the former first lady suffers from congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
“We are grateful for her. She’s the best grandma anybody could have ever had — or have,” Jenna said on TODAY, quickly correcting herself.
Jenna said she and her twin sister, who was named after their paternal grandmother, spoke with the former first lady the previous evening.
“She’s with my grandpa, the man she’s loved for over 73 years. They are surrounded by family, but I think the fact that they’re together and that he still says, ‘I love you Barbie’ every night is pretty remarkable,” she said.
In recent years, Bush has been seen using a walker and an oxygen tank. She was briefly hospitalized last year for bronchitis.
She made a vague reference to her health in a recent magazine article published in the alumnae magazine of her alma mater, Smith College.
“I have had great medical care and more operations than you would believe,” she said in the brief post. “I’m not sure God will recognize me; I have so many new body parts!”
Bush also remarked on her longtime marriage to her husband in the magazine, writing: “I am still old and still in love with the man I married 72 years ago.”
Bush married her husband on Jan. 6, 1945. The couple went on to have six children, including a daughter, Robin, who died of leukemia when she was 3.
PREVIOUS STORY: By MICHAEL GRACZYK, Associated Press
HOUSTON (AP) - Former first lady Barbara Bush is in "failing health" and won't seek additional medical treatment, a Bush family spokesman said Sunday.
"Following a recent series of hospitalizations, 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," spokesman Jim McGrath said in a news release.
McGrath did not elaborate as to the nature of Bush's health problems. She has been treated for decades for Graves' disease, which is a thyroid condition.
"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," McGrath said. "She is surrounded by a family she adores, and appreciates the many kind messages and especially the prayers she is receiving."
Bush is one of only two first ladies who was also the mother of a president. The other was Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams and mother of John Quincy Adams.
She married George H.W. Bush in 1945. They had 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, Mrs. Bush stood with her husband as their son George W. was sworn in as president.
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