Former President Jimmy Carter, who at 98 years old is the longest-lived American president, has entered home hospice care in Plains, Georgia, a statement from The Carter Center confirmed on Saturday, February 18th.
After a series of short hospital stays, the statement said, Carter “decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention.”
The statement said the 39th president has the full support of his medical team and family, which “asks for privacy at this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many admirers.”
Carter was a little-known Georgia governor when he began his bid for the presidency ahead of the 1976 election. He went on to defeat then-President Gerald R. Ford, capitalizing as a Washington outsider in the wake of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal that drove Richard Nixon from office in 1974.
Carter served a single, tumultuous term and was defeated by Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980, a landslide loss that ultimately paved the way for his decades of global advocacy for democracy, public health and human rights via The Carter Center.
The former president and his wife, Rosalynn, 95, opened the center in 1982. His work there garnered a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.
Jason Carter, the couple’s grandson who now chairs The Carter Center governing board, said Saturday in a tweet that he “saw both of my grandparents yesterday. They are at peace and—as always—their home is full of love.”
Carter, who has lived most of his life in Plains, traveled extensively into his 80s and early 90s, including annual trips to build homes with Habitat for Humanity and frequent trips abroad as part of the Carter Center’s election monitoring and its effort to eradicate the Guinea worm parasite in developing countries. But the former president’s health has declined over his 10th decade of life, especially as the coronavirus pandemic limited his public appearances, including at his beloved Maranatha Baptist Church where he taught Sunday School lessons for decades before standing-room-only crowds of visitors.