Former US president George H.W. Bush is on the mend and has been released from intensive care, a spokesman said Saturday.

"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," spokesman Jim McGrath said.

"The Bushes thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes."

Earlier in the week, McGrath said Bush had taken a turn for the worse, with a "series of setbacks" sending the 88-year-old to the intensive care unit at the Houston, Texas hospital with a "stubborn fever."

Bush, the oldest surviving former US president, was first admitted to the hospital on November 7 for bronchitis treatment and released on November 19. But he was readmitted four days later after his cough flared up again.

Doctors had hoped to have the elder statesman home for Christmas, but he was instead forced to spend the holiday in the hospital, where he was joined by his wife Barbara, son Neil and grandson Pierce.

Bush, a Republican, served just a single term in the White House from 1989 to 1993, despite sending US troops to victory in Iraq in the first Gulf War and expelling Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait.

The decorated World War II veteran served in a number of top government posts, including as vice president to Ronald Reagan, director of the Central Intelligence Agency and US ambassador to the United Nations.

He was also chief of the US Liaison Office in China at a time Washington had official ties with Beijing's foe Taipei. This made Bush the unofficial US ambassador to Beijing.

His son George W. Bush served two terms as president and also went to war with Iraq, this time sending US-led troops all the way to Baghdad to overthrow Saddam, whom he had wrongly accused of hoarding weapons of mass destruction.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]