Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter died on Sunday, November 19, at the age of 96.
“Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, a passionate champion of mental health, caregiving, and women’s rights, passed away Sunday, Nov. 19, at 2:10 p.m. at her home in Plains, Georgia,” a statement released via the Carter Center read. “She died peacefully, with family by her side.”
Rosalynn was married to former president Jimmy Carter for 77 years.
“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” Jimmy, 99, said in a statement. “She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”
Rosalynn is survived by Jimmy, who is currently in hospice care, their four children, 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. (Rosalynn and Jimmy shared sons Jack, Chip and Jeff, as well as daughter Amy.)
“Besides being a loving mother and extraordinary First Lady, my mother was a great humanitarian in her own right,” Chip, 73, said in his own statement on Sunday. “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.”
The Carter Center announced days earlier on Friday, November 17 that Rosalynn entered hospice care.
“She and President Carter are spending time with each other and their family,” grandson Jason Carter said in a statement at the time. “The Carter family continues to ask for privacy and remains grateful for the outpouring of love and support.”
Rosalynn had been diagnosed with dementia in May and continued to live at home with Jimmy.
Rosalynn married Jimmy in July 1946 nearly 30 years before he won the 1976 presidential election and they moved their family from Plains, Georgia, to the White House in Washington, D.C. Jimmy served for one term, leaving office in 1981 when former president Ronald Reagan was elected.
After leaving the White House and returning to their Plains hometown, Jimmy and Rosalynn cofounded the Carter Center, a nonprofit organization to advocate for democracy, peace and fighting diseases. Jimmy earned a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his work with the organization.
Both in and out of the White House, Rosalynn was an impassioned champion for many causes, including mental health, caregiving and women’s rights. Her efforts earned her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999 and an induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001.