Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge is showing signs of improvement after a heart attack last week, and his family is "cautiously optimistic" that he will recover fully, his wife said Monday.

"Doctors are encouraged by his progress and so are we — even though we realize there's still a long road ahead," Michele Ridge said in statement.

The former governor, 72, was transported to a Texas hospital Thursday after he contacted staff at the Austin hotel where he was staying and asked for medical assistance. Ridge, also the first U.S. Homeland Security secretary, had been attending the Republican Governors Association conference at the JW Marriott.

Ridge's family said last week that he had suffered a heart attack and had undergone an emergency procedure known as cardiac catheterization.

On Monday, Ridge's spokesman, Steve Aaron, said in the same statement that doctors inserted a single stent into one of Ridge's arteries that had been blocked.

"Since that time, Gov. Ridge has made steady progress as some of the assistive machines used to keep him stable have been successfully removed," the statement said.

Michele Ridge said the family has been impressed by the care her husband has received. "We continue to be comforted," she also said, "by the enormous expression of positive energy, encouragement, and prayers that have been coming from well-wishers around the globe."