Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who was an influential partner to her husband Jimmy Carter in his unlikely rise to the Georgia governor’s mansion and then the White House, died today at the age of 96, the Carter Center announced.
Carter, who suffered from dementia, entered hospice care on Friday. She died at 2:10 p.m. ET at her and her husband’s home in Plains, GA, the center said.
Jimmy Carter said in a statement, “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished. 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 were married for 77 years, the longest of any presidential couple. The former president, now 99, entered hospice care earlier this year.
As first lady from 1977 to 1981, Carter used her platform to advocate for mental health and women’s health, diverging from the traditional role in the White House.
Her son Chip Carter said in a statement, “Besides being a loving mother and extraordinary First Lady, my mother was a great humanitarian in her own right. 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.”
She is survived by three other children — Jack, Jeff, and Amy — and 11 grandchildren and 14 great-children. A grandson died in 2015.
More to come.