Former President Jimmy Carter enters hospice care

Former president Jimmy Carter file photos from Sept. 30, 2018 in Atlanta. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Former president Jimmy Carter file photos from Sept. 30, 2018 in Atlanta. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images/TNS)

Former President Jimmy Carter, the Georgia native who is the longest living president in U.S. history, has decided against any further medical treatment and has entered home hospice care, the Carter Center said Saturday.

“After a series of short hospital stays, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention,” the Atlanta-based center said.

“He has the full support of his family and his medical team. The Carter family asks for privacy during this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many admirers.”

The Carter Center didn’t elaborate on the former president’s condition, but the 98-year-old has endured a host of illnesses as he’s outlived two presidents who succeeded him along with his own vice president.

In 2015, Carter survived a melanoma diagnosis that later spread to his brain. The discovery followed the removal of a lesion on his liver that took about 10% of the organ. He also suffered several falls in 2019, including one requiring 14 stitches, and other health scares that have required hospitalization.

He and his wife Rosalynn, 95, have scaled back their public schedules in recent years. They have spent much of the coronavirus pandemic at their home in the southwest Georgia town of Plains, where they both grew up. The town, with a population of about 800 people, is roughly 130 miles south of Atlanta.

President Joe Biden visited long-time friend and ally President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter in Plains, Ga.

Credit: courtesy of The Carter Center

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Credit: courtesy of The Carter Center

He didn’t attend President Joe Biden’s inauguration in 2021, though Biden visited Plains a few months later to rekindle their long friendship. Biden was a first-term U.S. senator from Delaware in 1976 when he became one of the first elected officials outside Georgia to pick Carter in the White House race.

The 98-year-old became the longest-living American president in March 2019, when he surpassed former President George H.W. Bush, who died the previous November. He served as the 39th U.S. president from 1977 to 1981, and he and his wife Rosalynn Carter have been married for 76 years.

Over the weekend, several of Carter’s family members traveled to Plains to visit with the former president.

“I saw both of my grandparents yesterday,” said Jason Carter, the former president’s grandson. “They are at peace and — as always — their home is full of love. Thank you all for your kind words.”

The former Georgia governor stunned the political world in 1976 by winning the Democratic nomination against a host of better-known contenders, and then ousted incumbent Republican President Gerald Ford on a platform of reforming government and fostering more transparency after Richard Nixon’s resignation.

He negotiated the Camp David accords that brought peace between Israel and Egypt, and signed measures that partially deregulated the airline and trucking industry. His administration also established the federal departments of Education and Energy, and he appointed what was then a record number of women and people of color to judicial posts.

But he governed during a tumultuous four years rocked by Cold War standoffs with the Soviet Union and its allies, gas supply crunches and double-digit inflation. His handling of the 444-day hostage crisis in Iran, and the eight Americans who died in the failed rescue in April 1980, helped doom his reelection chances.

Following his bitter 1980 defeat at the hands of Ronald Reagan — or his “involuntary retirement,” as he calls it, becoming the first full one-term president since Herbert Hoover to lose reelection — Carter turned himself into something else.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter discuss some of the ways The Carter Center has been waging peace and fighting disease to build hope for millions around the world. (Michael A. Schwarz via The Carter Center)

Credit: Chick-fil-A/Michael A. Schwarz

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Credit: Chick-fil-A/Michael A. Schwarz

In 1982, he started the Carter Center in Atlanta to advance human rights and promote democracy. The center mediates conflicts, promotes civil rights, combats diseases and monitors electoral processes in support of free and fair elections.

Until he receded from the spotlight in recent years, Carter traveled the world to meet with global leaders, monitor elections and worked with the Carter Center to eradicate diseases. His work during post-presidential life was recognized in 2002, when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In a 2019 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Carter offered his advice for longevity.

“The first thing is to marry the right woman if you are a man. Marry the right man if you are a woman. Find something very challenging or interesting to do,” Carter said.

“We have had the Carter Center, with a very bold and aggressive and challenging program to keep us occupied. So having a very formidable and challenging and exciting task to perform is one of the best ways to live a longer life.”

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