George HW Bush moved out of intensive care unit

Former President George H.W. Bush has been moved out of the intensive care unit and into a regular patient room at Methodist Hospital in Houston.

"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. The Bushes thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes," a family spokesman said Saturday.

"The president is alert, and as always, in good spirits," Jim McGrath said on Friday. He was reportedly singing with the medical staff.

He said physicians are "cautiously optimistic that the current course of treatment will be effective."

The 88-year-old has been hospitalized since Nov. 23. He was moved into intensive care on Sunday for treatment of a fever following a bronchitis-related cough.

Jean Becker, Bush's chief of staff, earlier told family and friends in an e-mail that the former president "would ask me to tell you to please put the harps back in the closet."

Bush is the oldest living U.S. president, and famously skydived on at least three of his birthdays since leaving office -- most recently when he turned 85.

In recent years a form of Parkinson's disease has forced him to use a motorized scooter or a wheelchair to get around.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.