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George H.W. Bush ‘fair’ after breaking neck bone

Former US president George H.W. Bush was in fair condition in hospital Thursday after falling and breaking a bone in his neck, his office said.

President Barack Obama telephoned Bush to wish him a speedy recovery and extend best wishes on behalf of himself and the first lady, the White House said.

The 41st American president, 91, fell at the family home in Kennebunkport in the northeastern US state of Maine on Wednesday, his spokesman Jim McGrath said.

He fractured his C2 vertebrae, but did not lose consciousness and the plan is to let the injury heal without surgery.

Bush is being treated at the Maine Medical Center in Portland, around 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Kennebunkport.

He will remain at the hospital to be fitted for a brace to immobilize the injured area, to continue physical therapy and for further evaluation,” Bush’s office said.

He is in “fair condition” and the injury “neither impinged on his spine nor resulted in any neurological deficits. He continues to have normal use of his limbs,” a statement added.

But no prospective date for his release was announced and a doctor will update the media outside the hospital at 3pm (1900 GMT).

One of Bush’s granddaughters, Jenna Bush Hager, who works as an NBC News correspondent, thanked well-wishers for their support and said the family was confident he would recover.

“Thanks for all of your thoughts+prayers for our dear Gamps. We are optimistic that he will heal well,” she wrote on Twitter.

Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton also wished Bush senior a speedy recovery.

Bush is the oldest of America’s four living ex-presidents. He is photographed most often in a wheelchair and has seemed frail in recent public appearances.

In December he was admitted to a Texas hospital for breathing problems.

He was treated at the same Texas facility in November 2012 for bronchitis, spending nearly two months in the hospital.

He is patriarch of one of America’s most prominent political dynasties and father to former US president George W. Bush.

Another son, Jeb, the former governor of Florida, last month launched his bid for the White House in 2016 and is campaigning for the Republican nomination.

“The country saw a great leader and good man point the way to a better future. I am 1 of the 2 proudest parents in America today,” his father wrote on Twitter at the time.


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