Former US first lady Barbara Bush hospitalised in Houston

HOUSTON (REUTERS) - Former United States first lady Barbara Bush has been hospitalised in Houston for treatment of early signs of a"respiratory-related issue", her husband's office said on Tuesday.

Mrs Bush, 88, one of only two women to be both the wife and mother of US presidents, was admitted on Monday to Methodist Hospital in Houston's Texas Medical Centre, the statement said.

"She is in great spirits, has already received visits from her husband and family, and is receiving fantastic care," the office of former President George H.W. Bush said in a written statement.

"Updates will be issued when warranted." A hospital spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mrs Bush is the wife of Mr George H.W. Bush, the 41st president, and mother of Mr George W. Bush, the 43rd.

Mrs Barbara Bush became known to the American public as a genial, down-to-earth woman with a penchant for gardening who said she was more interested in running a household than in helping her husband run the country.

Public opinion polls often showed Mrs Bush's popularity as first lady running ahead of the president's, although she put little stock in such polls.

After leaving the White House, she continued her interest in promoting literacy and reading, while finding time to write her memoirs.