Washington (AFP) – Jimmy Carter, the 98-year-old former US president who led the nation from 1977 to 1981, is receiving hospice care at home, where he will spend his “remaining time,” his nonprofit foundation said Saturday.
Carter, the oldest living former president and a Nobel peace laureate, resides in Plains, Georgia, with his wife, Rosalynn.
That hamlet is where he was born and worked as a peanut farmer before becoming the governor and later launching his bid as Democratic presidential nominee.
“After a series of short hospital stays, 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,” the Carter Center said in a statement posted to Twitter.
During his presidency, Carter placed a commitment on human rights and social justice, enjoying a strong first two years which included brokering a peace deal between Israel and Egypt dubbed the Camp David Accords.
But his administration hit numerous snags — the most serious being the taking of US hostages in Iran and the disastrous failed attempt to rescue the 52 captive Americans in 1980.
In November of that year, Republican challenger Ronald Reagan beat Carter at the polls, relegating him to a single term. Reagan swept into office on a wave of staunch conservatism.
As the years passed, a more nuanced image of Carter emerged, taking into account his post-presidential activities and reassessing his achievements.
He founded the Carter Center in 1982 to pursue his vision of world diplomacy, and he was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for his tireless efforts to promote social and economic justice.
“The Carter family asks for privacy during this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many admirers,” the Carter Center said.
“He has the full support of his family and his medical team,” it added.
Carter said basic Christian tenets such as justice and love served as the bedrock of his presidency, and the ex-president taught Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist, his church in Plains, well into his 90s.
In recent years, Carter has received various hospital treatments, including when he revealed in August 2015 that he had brain cancer and was undergoing radiation treatment — an illness he recovered from, seemingly against the odds.
Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia, who is the pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr preached, wished the Carter family comfort.
“Across life’s seasons, President Jimmy Carter, a man of great faith, has walked with God,” Warnock tweeted. “In this tender time of transitioning, God is surely walking with him.”
In April 2021, US President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, met with the Carters at their home in Plains.
The White House afterward released a photo showing the couples smiling together, although only Rosalynn was seen by the press outside, bidding the Bidens farewell while using a walker.
On Saturday, Carter’s grandson Jason Carter, a former Georgia state senator, tweeted that he had seen “both of my grandparents yesterday.”
“They are at peace and — as always —their home is full of love. Thank you all for your kind words,” he said.