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(HOUSTON) — Former President George H. W. Bush was released from a hospital in Texas on Monday after a 52-day stay that started just after Thanksgiving because of breathing problems.

Bush was admitted to The Methodist Hospital in Houston for a lingering case of bronchitis on Nov. 23, 2012, but a bacterial infection and a persistent cough kept him there longer than expected.

Doctors thought Bush, 88, would be ready to leave the hospital by Christmas, but on Dec. 23 he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit after what his spokesman called “a series of setbacks including a persistent fever.”

Throughout his stay there, the 41st president was said to have sang and joked with doctors.

“I am deeply grateful for the wonderful doctors and nurses at Methodist who took such good care of me,” President Bush said in a statement. “Let me add just how touched we were by the many get-well messages we received from our friends and fellow Americans. Your prayers and good wishes helped more than you know, and as I head home my only concern is that I will not be able to thank each of you for your kind words.”

The internal medicine physician in charge of the former president’s care said Bush would not need any additional medication when he goes home but will continue to undergo physical therapy.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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