Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter Passes Away at 96, Leaving a Legacy of Advocacy and Service

Rosalynn Carter, the former First Lady and wife of President Jimmy Carter, has died at the age of 96, as announced by The Carter Center. The announcement revealed that Carter, who served as first lady during her husband’s presidency from 1977 to 1981, passed away on Sunday due to complications of old age. She had entered hospice care on Friday following a dementia diagnosis.

President Jimmy Carter, in a statement provided by The Carter Center, expressed the profound impact of Rosalynn’s partnership, stating, “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, having been married for 77 years, held the distinction of being the longest-living presidential couple. Rosalynn Carter was also the second-longest-living First Lady in U.S. history, behind Bess Truman. Throughout her life, Carter played a significant role in advising her husband during his presidency, even attending cabinet meetings on occasion.

Rosalynn Carter’s contributions extended beyond the political realm, as she became a dedicated advocate for mental health. Her efforts led to the passage of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, a federal statute ensuring that health insurance coverage includes treatment for psychological disorders, alcoholism, and drug addiction.

In addition to her advocacy for mental health, Carter actively participated in her husband’s renowned efforts with Habitat for Humanity, contributing to the construction of affordable housing. Her legacy of service and compassion has left a lasting impact on mental health care and caregiving.

Numerous public figures, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and former First Lady Melania Trump, expressed condolences for the loss of a passionate humanitarian. Carter passed away in Plains, Georgia, where she was born, raised, and lived with her husband for decades. She is survived by her husband, four children, eleven grandchildren, and fourteen great-grandchildren.

As a former First Lady, Rosalynn Carter’s official funeral is expected to be attended by First Lady Jill Biden, along with all living former presidents and first ladies. The incumbent president typically does not attend such events by custom. Jimmy Carter entered hospice care on February 18, and the White House has not immediately responded to requests for comment.

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