A spokesman says former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, will skip the Republican National Convention next month in Tampa, Fla., because of health reasons.
The spokesman, Jim McGrath, says it will be the first time since 1976, when Bush was director of the CIA and refrained from partisan activities, that he won't attend the Republican Party gathering.
The 88-year-old Bush has a form of Parkinson's disease that afflicts his legs. He now gets around using a wheelchair or motorized scooter.
The former president described his condition to Parade Magazine for an article published this past weekend.
"They call it vascular Parkinsonism. It just affects the legs. It's not painful. You tell your legs to move, and they don't move. It's stranger, but if you have to have some bad-sounding disease, this is a good one to get," he said.
"It's hard, because I love being active, (playing) sports, being in the game…But you just face the reality and make the best of it," he told the magazine.
Bush and his wife have endorsed Mitt Romney, the expected GOP presidential nominee.
© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.