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George H.W. Bush recovering from neck fracture

BOSTON -- Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush is in fair condition and will remain in a Maine hospital for further evaluation after suffering a neck fracture in a fall at his home, his spokesman said in a statement on Thursday.

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Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush speaks at the World Leadership Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates November 21, 2006. REUTERS/Stringer

BOSTON - Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush is in fair condition and will remain in a Maine hospital for further evaluation after suffering a neck fracture in a fall at his home, his spokesman said in a statement on Thursday.

Bush, who served as the 41st U.S. president, was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland following the fall on Wednesday at his seaside compound in Kennebunkport.

"The plan is to let this injury heal on its own without surgery," according to a statement issued by Bush spokesman Jim McGrath on Thursday. The statement said the former president would remain in hospital to be fitted for a neck brace, for therapy and further evaluation.

"We do not discuss timelines for discharge but do not believe this will be a prolonged recovery period at MMC," the statement said.

Bush's fall left him with a cracked C2 vertebrae but no spinal damage or "neurological deficits," and Bush did not lose consciousness after the fall, according to McGrath's statement.

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U.S. President Barack Obama called Bush on Thursday to wish him a speedy recovery, the White House said. "The president extended best wishes on behalf of himself and the first lady," spokesman Eric Schultz said.

Bush's granddaughter Jenna Bush Hager said on Twitter : "Always touched by kindness: thanks for all of your thoughts + prayers for our dear Gamps. We are optimistic that he will heal well."

Bush was last hospitalized in Houston for a week in December 2014 because of breathing difficulties.

Bush is the father of former President George W. Bush and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential election.

The elder Bush, a Republican like his sons, served as vice president during Ronald Reagan's two White House terms before being elected president in 1988. He served four years in the White House, during which he organized the U.S.-led military coalition that defeated Iraqi forces after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.

He lost his 1992 re-election bid to Democrat Bill Clinton.

Bush previously was a congressman, U.N. ambassador, U.S. envoy to China and director of the Central Intelligence Agency before becoming Reagan's running mate in 1980.

A Navy pilot during World War Two, he celebrated his 90th birthday on June 12, 2014, by skydiving near Kennebunkport, Maine, with the Army's Golden Knight parachute team. He currently suffers from Parkinson's disease and cannot use his legs.

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