George and Barbara Bush
© Rick Wilking / Reuters
Former President George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush.
US television channel CBS appear to have wrongly reported the death of former First Lady Barbara Bush, who is in fact still alive but gravely ill.

The blunder occurred on Sunday following reports that the health of Mrs Bush, wife of former US President George H W Bush, is failing. It's understood she has declined further medical care. Bush served as the 37th first lady of the US from 1989 until 1993.

CBS News appears to have accidentally published an obituary article prepared for when 92-year-old first lady does pass away. According to reports in the US, the first lines of the article described Bush as a "witty, gregarious matriarch" before informing readers of her mistaken death.

Barbara Bush, the witty, gregarious matriarch of a political dynasty that propelled two of its members to the White House and dominated Republican politics for decades, has died after a series of recent hospitalizations. She was 92. A Bush family spokesperson said Bush passed away peacefully in her home, surrounded by loved ones," the CBS News article reportedly said.

The ill-timed article as since been removed. But not before eagle-eyed readers got a glimpse of the "Do Not Publish"-titled obituary.

Preparing obituaries is standard practice for many newsrooms, however CBS News has not yet commented on this particular blunder.

Bush has had a number of health problems over the years and a statement from the office of her husband revealed she will no longer undergo medical treatment for her ailments.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has since called on residents of the state to pray for her well-being. "Barbara Bush has a character that is as big, inspiring and iconic as Texas. Cecilia and I ask all Texans to join us in praying for Barbara and the entire Bush family during this time," Abbott said.