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Barbara Bush hospitalized in Houston

HOUSTON — Former first lady Barbara Bush, 88, has been hospitalized for early signs of pneumonia, but she was said to be in “great spirits.”

“Former first lady Barbara Bush was admitted to Methodist Hospital in Houston’s Texas Medical Center yesterday for treatment on a respiratory-related issue,” family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement Tuesday, noting that Bush “has already received visits from her husband and family, and is receiving fantastic care.”

Earlier this year, George H.W. Bush, 88, the nation’s oldest former president, was also treated at Methodist Hospital for bronchitis, a bacterial infection and a persistent cough, McGrath said. He was released after two months.

While serving as first lady in 1989, Barbara Bush revealed that she suffered from Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid. She began taking medications for the disease and received radiation as part of her treatment.

She underwent surgery at Methodist Hospital in 2008 to close a hole in her small intestine caused by an ulcer and, later, to replace her aortic valve.

When she was hospitalized this week, the former president visited her at the hospital Monday and twice on Tuesday, McGrath said. He said the couple were celebrating New Year’s Eve by watching the Texas A&M football game.

“I talked to her tonight, and she sounds in great spirits,” McGrath told the Los Angeles Times late Tuesday.

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