Hollywood icon Bob Hope is in the hospital battling pneumonia.

The 98-year-old entertainer was taken to the Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, on Sunday night after complaining of troubled breathing, spokesman Ward Grant said Wednesday. Hope's wife, Dolores, and daughter, Linda, accompanied him.

He was diagnosed with a case of what his publicist calls "mild" bacterial pneumonia and is listed in stable condition.

"Mr. Hope is responding to treatment. His health is improved," says Dr. Lee Kagen, Hope's physician. "We expect to have him home in a few days."

Hope is breathing with the help of supplemental oxygen and being fed intravenously. He is communicating mostly with hand gestures.

His physician is optimistic about Hope's condition, but said during a Wednesday afternoon press conference that "pneumonia is always a potentially serious problem, in the elderly particularly.

"Left untreated, it could have been catastrophic," Kagen said. The entertainer is receiving a regimen of strong antibiotics.

Hope was hospitalized in June 2000 for gastrointestinal bleeding, a common ailment among the elderly. He was released after a week-long stay.

The increasingly frail Hope, who splits his time between homes in Palm Springs and the Los Angeles suburb of Toluca Lake, hasn't put in too many public appearances in recent years. Shortly before being hospitalized last year, he did go to Washington, D.C., to open the Bob Hope Gallery of American Entertainment at the Library of Congress, and he ocassionally appears at parades, golf tournaments and special events in Southern California. His last official TV special aired on NBC in 1996.

(updated at 5:10 p.m. PT)

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