Last Updated Jan 18, 2017 5:42 PM EST
Former President George H.W. Bush told President-elect Donald Trump that he has to skip the inauguration on Friday because sitting outside during the winter would be too risky to his and his wife’s health.
“Barbara and I are so sorry we can’t be there for your inauguration on January 20th,” Bush wrote in a letter to Mr. Trump last week, which surfaced Wednesday.
“My doctor says if I sit outside in January, it likely will put me six feet under,” he wrote. “Same for Barbara, So I guess we’re stuck in Texas.”
Bush, 92, said that the former president and former first lady will be there “in spirit” and offered to help if he ever needs it.
Coincidentally, Bush has been hospitalized since Saturday for shortness of breath, his spokesman Jim McGrath confirmed Wednesday on Twitter. He was admitted to the ICU at Houston Methodist Hospital to address an issue stemming from pneumonia, his office said in a statement.
The statement also said that former first lady Barbara Bush was admitted to the hospital after experiencing fatigue and coughing.
“Doctors performed a procedure to protect and clear his airway that required sedation. President Bush is stable and resting comfortably in the ICU, where he will remain for observation,” the statement said. “Additionally, Mrs. Bush was admitted to the Houston Methodist Hospital this morning as a precaution after experiencing fatigue and coughing.”
Bush suffers from a form of Parkinson’s disease and in 2015, he spent a week in a Maine hospital after falling and breaking a bone in his neck.
Mr. Trump responded on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, thanking George and Barbara Bush for the letter.