Comedian Bob Hope will remain in the hospital for at least a few more days as he fights to recover from pneumonia, his physician said Monday.

"Although Mr. Hope remains in stable condition and there is continuing improvement, because of his age we want him good and strong before we send him home," said Dr. Lee Kagan.

Hope, 98, was originally expected to be released by the end of the Labor Day weekend.

Hope first entered Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank on Aug. 26 after saying he had trouble breathing. He was later diagnosed with mild pneumonia.

Hope has been confined to a wheelchair in recent years and will probably need several weeks to regain his strength, according to doctors. He has been receiving antibiotics, intravenous fluids and respiratory therapy, and his wife and daughter have been by his side.

"I have been told by the nursing staff that they have become so fond of Dad they want him to remain a few more days," said daughter Linda Hope.

Pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, is caused primarily by bacteria, although fungal and viral pneumonia also exist. About 2 million Americans die of the illness each year, making it the sixth most common cause of death.