Former President George H.W. Bush was released from a Houston hospital Monday.

The 88-year-old former president was discharged from Methodist Hospital after a seven-week stay for complications due to bronchitis.

"Mr. Bush has improved to the point that he will not need any special medication when he goes home, but he will continue physical therapy," said Dr. Amy Mynderse, the internal medicine physician in charge of the former president's care.

"I am deeply grateful for the wonderful doctors and nurses at Methodist who took such good care of me," said President Bush. "Let me add just how touched we were by the many get-well messages we received from our friends and fellow Americans. Your prayers and good wishes helped more than you know, and as I head home my only concern is that I will not be able to thank each of you for your kind words."

President Bush was hospitalized in late November for a nagging cough caused by bronchitis. He overcame numerous setbacks, including a stubborn fever and a six-day stay in the ICU.

With his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush by his side, the former president past the time by watching lots of Texas football, including the Cotton Bowl and the Houston Texans playoff games. He is said to be reading John Meacham's newly released biography on Thomas Jefferson, and engaged in banter and jokes with the hospital staff.

The Bush family said they are extraordinary thankful for all the well wishes and support they've received from around Houston and across the country.