(KVII/NATIONALJOURNAL.COM/THE BUSH CENTER/ABC NEWS/GOOD MORNING AMERICA/CNN) - What was originally thought to be a minor heart condition - turned out to be a serious health scare for George W. Bush.
George W. Bush has long been considered one of our country's most athletic presidents - both in office and after the presidency.
But the 67-year-old former President's recent heart problems may be more serious than previously thought.
The National Journal is reporting that a major blockage in a coronary artery discovered during his annual physical in August had almost completely shut-off blood flow to one of his heart's chambers.
A close friend of the former President tells CNN the blockage was in the ballpark of 95 percent.
Over Memorial Day weekend, Bush led these wounded warriors on an annual long-distance bike ride at his ranch in Crawford, TX.
Bush notably gave up drinking alcohol on his 40th birthday.
He was even listed in the superior category of fitness for men his age after an annual physical exam late into his presidency. His only hiccup was gaining four pounds - because he said he had:
"Probably ate too many birthday cakes."
But those infamous eating habits may have caused the blockage to his artery doctors found during this August's exam.
Bush had surgery the next morning to insert a stent to unblock the artery.
"Certainly President Bush was at significant risk having a 95 percent blockage in one of his coronary arteries," said Dr. Warren Levy, a cardiologist. "That doesn't mean he was going to have a heart attack, but certainly he was at significant risk of a heart attack and something did need to be done."
A close Bush family friend told CNN that the former President is very grateful that the blockage was found and fixed when it was.
Bush recently joked about his health in an interview with ABC news:
"Other than the fact that I nearly bled to death when I nicked myself shaving because I'm taking blood thinner, I'm doing pretty good."
Aides to Bush won't confirm the report, but it's been an intense year for the bush family.
George HW Bush was hospitalized earlier this year for a serious infection, but he appears to be back in good health.
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