WASHINGTON - Former US first lady Rosalynn Carter, the wife of former president Jimmy Carter, died Sunday at 96 at the couple’s home in the southern state of Georgia, their nonprofit organization announced. Carter was best known for her work post-White House, as she and her husband championed human rights, democracy and health issues around the world -- all while maintaining a notably humble public image.
She had joined her husband in at-home hospice care on Friday after being diagnosed with dementia in May. “Former first lady Rosalynn Carter, a passionate champion of mental health, caregiving and women’s rights, passed away Sunday... at her home in Plains, Georgia, at the age of 96,” the Carter Center said in a statement. “She died peacefully, with family by her side.” “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” Jimmy Carter said in the 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 former Democratic president said.
Throughout Jimmy Carter’s long political career, his wife was at the heart of his campaigns. Once in the White House -- from 1977 to 1981 -- Rosalynn Carter stood out as a first lady intent on being involved in policy. “She attended Cabinet meetings and major briefings, frequently represented the Chief Executive at ceremonial occasions and served as the president’s personal emissary to Latin American countries,” according to the White House website.
Other White House occupants shared tributes to the former first lady Sunday. “Through rigors of campaigns, through the darkness of deep and profound loss -- we always felt the hope, warmth, and optimism of Rosalynn Carter,” President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden said in a statement, pointing to the Carters’ “deep love” as the “definition of partnership.”