Former first lady Rosalynn Carter dies at 96

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter, wife of former President Carter, died Sunday afternoon. She was 96.

The Carter Center said in a statement that the former first lady passed away just after 2 p.m. Sunday at her home in Plains, Ga., about two days after she entered hospice care.

“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” President Carter 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.”

The Carters marked their 77th wedding anniversary in July. As of 2021, their marriage became the longest for a first couple in U.S. history, surpassing former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush’s 73 years of marriage.

Rosalynn Carter was a longtime advocate for mental health issues. She was diagnosed with dementia in March, which the center said the family was hoping to help destigmatize.

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

Her husband celebrated his 99th birthday last month after entering hospice care himself in February. Carter is the oldest former living president in U.S. history.

She is survived by her four children, 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren, the center noted. Information about memorials and funeral services will be made available as soon as possible, the center said.

Updated 3:59 p.m.

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