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Granddaughter: Barbara Bush is ‘a fighter,’ in good spirits

HOUSTON — Former first lady Barbara Bush, who was reported in “failing health” over the weekend, is in “great spirits” and the family is grateful for “everybody’s prayers and thoughts,” her granddaughter said Monday.

Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a news release Sunday that “Mrs. Bush, now age 92, has decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will instead focus on comfort care” at home in Houston following consultations with her doctors and family.

McGrath did not elaborate on the nature of Bush’s health problems but on Monday said she has suffered in recent years from congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

She also has been treated for decades for Graves’ disease, which is a thyroid condition, had heart surgery in 2009 for a severe narrowing of her main heart valve and was hospitalized a year before that for surgery on a perforated ulcer.

Jenna Bush Hager, an anchor on NBC’s “Today” show, told the program Monday morning that Bush is resting comfortably with family.

“She’s a fighter. She’s an enforcer,” Hager said, using the family’s nickname for her grandmother. “We’re grateful for her, for everybody’s prayers and thoughts, and just know the world is better because she is in it.

“We are grateful for her. She’s the best grandma anybody could have ever had … or have.”

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, the nation’s second president, and mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president.

Bush married George H.W. Bush on Jan. 6, 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 the 43rd president.

Hager said the former president “still says, ‘I love you Barbie’ every night,” describing their grandparents’ close relationship as “remarkable.”

McGrath said Bush was concerned more for her family than herself.

“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,” he said.

President Donald Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement Sunday evening that “the president’s and first lady’s prayers are with all of the Bush family during this time.”