George H. W. Bush's Condition Improves, He Leaves ICU

12/29/2012 at 05:00 PM EST

George H W  Bush's Condition Improves
George H. W. Bush
After spending nearly a week in the intensive care unit at Methodist Hospital in Houston, former President George H.W. Bush has been moved out of the ICU.

"President Bush's condition has improved, so he has been moved today from the intensive care unit to a regular patient room at The Methodist Hospital to continue his recovery," his office said in a statement Saturday. "The Bushes thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes."

The 88-year-old, who was the 41st president of the United States, has been hospitalized since Nov. 23.

His spokesman said previously that doctors at the hospital were "cautiously optimistic" about the politician's treatment and said he was "alert and conversing with medical staff."

"Is he sick? Yes. Does he plan on going anywhere soon? No," Bush Sr.'s close aide, Jean Becker, said in a statement earlier this week. "He has every intention of staying put. He would ask me to tell you to please 'put the harps back in the closet.' "

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