In a statement released Dec. 28, Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath described the former president as "alert and, as always, in good spirits."

"His exchanges with doctors and nurses now include singing," McGrath said.

In a statement the day prior — as concern over the former president had reached a fevered pitch — Bush chief of staff Jean Becker told well-wishers to "put the harps back in the closet."

"Is he sick? Yes. Does he plan on going anywhere soon? No. He has every intention of staying put," Becker said.

This posted has been updated.