Rosalynn Carter has died aged 96.
The former First Lady was the wife of 39th US President Jimmy Carter and her passing, revealed on Sunday (19.11.23), came after she was diagnosed with dementia on May 30 as her husband, 99, received hospice care at their home in Georgia.
Mr Carter – the oldest living ex-leader of America – said in a tribute to his late partner: “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.”
In February, The Carter Center revealed the former president had decided to spend the rest of his days at home alongside his family.
The center praised Rosalynn as “a passionate champion of mental health, caregiving, and women’s rights”.
She is survived by her children – Jack, Chip, Jeff, and Amy – as well as 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
One of her grandsons died in 2015.
Born in Plains, Georgia, Rosalynn was the eldest of four children of Wilburn and Allethea Smith.
The family grew up in a small town and nurtured strong ties to family and dedication to church and community.
Rosalynn’s father died of leukemia when she was 13, and she became a homemaker to help support her mother and siblings, before marrying Jimmy Carter in 1945.
They wed after Jimmy had come home from the US Naval Academy during her first year at Georgia Southwestern College in Americus, Georgia.
Rosalynn ventured into politics as an essential member of her husband’s 1970 bid for the governorship of Georgia.
When Jimmy announced his plans to run for the White House, Rosalynn campaigned independently on his behalf in 41 states, with her husband winning the 1976 presidential election by narrowly defeating incumbent Republican president Gerald Ford.