Former President Jimmy Carter, 98, is receiving hospice care at his home, the Carter Center announced Saturday.
He made the decision after several hospital stays, the center said in a statement.
“Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter today decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention. 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 statement said.
Born to a peanut farmer on October 1, 1924, James Earl Carter, Jr. was raised during the Great Depression. He graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1946 and married Rosalynn Smith shortly afterward. The couple has three sons, John William (Jack), James Earl III (Chip), Donnel Jeffrey (Jeff), and a daughter, Amy Lynn.
Carter served as a Naval Officer for seven years before returning to Georgia, where he entered state politics in 1962. Eight years later, he was elected Governor of Georgia.
He became the 39th U.S. president when he defeated former Republican President Gerald R. Ford in 1976. He served a single term and was defeated by Ronald Reagan in 1980. He is both the oldest-living and longest-lived president.
Even after his term ended, Carter remained a vocal political presence, eschewing the tendency of many presidents to abstain from challenging their successors.
He personally lobbied members of the United Nations Security Council against the Gulf War under President George H.W. Bush. Later, he tacitly weighed in on George W. Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina, and he subsequently sought to provide counsel to President Obama.
During the Trump years, when the real estate tycoon’s web of conflicts of interest ignited nonstop news coverage—Trump refused to divest his holdings—many commentators pointed to Carter’s 1976 decision to place his “peanut farm” into a blind trust as a contrast. (In truth, Carter’s business interests were more complicated than a mere podunk farm.)
Through the Carter Center, his namesake nonprofit, the former president has burnished his legacy by seeking to advance human rights, address public health crises, and improve global institutions and infrastructure.
The center’s accomplishments include spearheading a coalition that has “reduced incidence of Guinea worm disease by 99.99 percent,” providing election monitoring in nearly 40 countries, and seeking to promote peace in conflict zones like South Sudan, Eritrea, and the Middle East.
Along the way, Carter has publicly endured some health challenges. In August 2015, he had a small cancerous mass removed from his liver, though by the following year, he announced that he needed no further treatment, thanks to an experimental drug that eliminated any sign of the disease.
Carter celebrated his most recent birthday in October with family and friends in Plains, the tiny Georgia town where he and Rosalynn were born.
The couple’s grandson Jason Carter tweeted that he saw the both of them on Friday and they were “at peace”.
Following news of his hospice care on Saturday, reactions began to pour in on social media.
“Very sad news about a remarkable man and a great American, who has done so much for the world,” President Obama’s former chief strategist David Axelrod wrote on Twitter. “Thinking of President Carter and his family.”
Maria Shriver tweeted that Carter “moves humanity forward every single day.”
“He is such an inspiration. Devoted his whole life to public service. Sending him and his family my love, my respect, my support.”