Former President Jimmy Carter is spending his final days in his Georgia home with his relatives by his side. Carter, who turned 98 last year, surpassed George HW Bush, who died at the age of 94 in late 2018, to hold the record for the longest-living US president. The former president’s family made the announcement that he was entering hospice care on Saturday, February 18, after years of deteriorating health.

“It’s his kids and grandkids up there,” LeAnne Smith, a niece of Carter’s wife, Rosalynn Carter, told CNN. The former president and Rosalynn share four children together, namely, John William “Jack,” James Earl “Chip,” Donnel Jeffrey “Jeff” and daughter Amy Carter. In an interview in Jake Tapper on The Lead in 2015, Carter said he has a huge family. “We have a big family now. We have 22 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, 38 of us in all,” he said.

‘It’s just invaluable time you can never appreciate enough’

Carter overcame brain cancer in 2015, but in 2019 he experienced a number of health concerns, leading to surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. He had been teaching Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church in his birthplace of Plains, Georgia, for decades, but health issues caused him to stop. “I know I had conversations with my dad when he had cancer and was in hospice, and it’s just invaluable time you can never appreciate enough,” said Smith.

Smith claimed that she went to Carter’s Plains home on Sunday, February 19, to speak with his family, but Carter was sleeping at the time. The last time Smith saw Carter was when he and Rosalynn were riding in a golf cart to downtown Plains. Smith added that the media influx and well-wishers that followed the Carters’ announcement of his hospice care had been “good for all of us in the healing process.” She said, those who “have come to share and witness his legacy, I think it’s been a very, very good thing.”

A strong advocate of human rights

Before entering politics, Carter, a Democrat, was a peanut farmer and a lieutenant in the US Navy. He then served one term as Georgia’s governor and as president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. People highly regard the former president for his support of human rights. His role in mediating the Camp David Accords between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1978 is still a key part of his legacy. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused the nation’s 39th president to maintain a low public profile in recent years, but he hasn’t stopped speaking out against threats to democracy throughout the world, a lifelong concern of his.

Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, established The Carter Center in the years after his administration in an effort to advance global health and peace. Over the years, the center has sought to promote democracy by keeping track of elections held abroad and lowering sickness rates in poor nations. “After a series of short hospital stays, former US President Jimmy Carter today decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention,” a statement from The Carter Center posted last week read. It added, “He has the full support of his family and his medical team.”

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