Ex-US First Lady Rosalynn Carter dies at 96

by IANS |

Washington, Nov 20 (IANS) Former US First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who was also a champion of mental health, caregiving and women’s rights, passed away at her home in Plains, Georgia, at the age of 96.

According to a statement issued by The Carter Centre, she died on Sunday at 2.10 p.m., with family by her side.

Carter was married for 77 years to Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the US and the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, who is now 99 years old.

“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished. She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it," the former President was quoted as saying in the statement.

"As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”

She is survived by her children -- Jack, Chip, Jeff, and Amy -- and 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

A grandson died in 2015.

“Besides being a loving mother and extraordinary First Lady, my mother was a great humanitarian in her own right,” said Chip Carter.

“Her life of service and compassion was an example for all Americans. She will be sorely missed not only by our family but by the many people who have better mental health care and access to resources for caregiving today.”

On November 17, the Carter Center had announced that the former First Lady had entered hospice care.

She was diagnosed with dementia in May, CNN reported.

Jimmy Carter began home hospice care in February, following a series of hospital stays.

The former President was defeated in a landslide by Ronald Reagan four years after being elected.

His single term in the White House from 1977 to 81 included forging a rare peace agreement between Israel and Egypt that continues to this day, but it was also marked by soaring inflation and the Iran hostage crisis.

First lady Jill Biden celebrated Rosalynn Carter’s life on Sunday, telling service members and their families at a Naval Station Norfolk holiday event: “The former first lady Rosalynn Carter has just passed. And she was well known for her efforts on mental health and caregiving and women’s rights."

President Joe Biden praised the Carter family while speaking to reporters after the holiday event. “They’re really an incredible family because they brought so much grace to the office,” he said.

Former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush similarly praised Rosalynn Carter as “a woman of dignity and strength”.

“There was no greater advocate of President Carter, and their partnership set a wonderful example of loyalty and fidelity. She leaves behind an important legacy in her work to destigmatize mental health. We join our fellow citizens in sending our condolences to President Carter and their family,” the coupled said in a joint statement.

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