This past Saturday, The Carter Center released a statement confirming that former president Jimmy Carter, who at 98 years old is the longest-lived American president, has entered home hospice care in Plains, Georgia.
Carter “decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention,” according to the statement.
It was stated in the statement that the 39th president has the full support of his medical team and family, who “asks for privacy at this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many admirers.”
Before the 1976 election, Carter was the relatively unknown governor of Georgia. He went on to defeat incumbent President Gerald R. Ford, riding the coattails of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal that ultimately led to Richard Nixon’s downfall and resignation in 1974 and capitalising as a Washington outsider.
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After a turbulent single term in office, Carter lost to Ronald Reagan of the Republican Party in 1980. This crushing defeat, however, set the stage for Carter to spend the next several decades advocating for democracy, public health, and human rights around the world through The Carter Center.
This facility was founded in 1982 by the former president and his then-95-year-old wife, Rosalynn. As a result of his efforts in that area, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.
Their grandson, Jason Carter, who chairs the board of directors at The Carter Center, tweeted on Saturday, “saw both of my grandparents yesterday. The love in their home is constant, and they are at peace.
Despite spending the majority of his life in the Plains, Carter took many trips in his 80s and 90s. These included annual trips to build homes with Habitat for Humanity as well as frequent trips abroad to assist with the Carter Center’s election monitoring and its effort to eradicate the Guinea worm parasite from developing countries. The former president’s health has worsened over the past decade, and the coronavirus pandemic has kept him from making public appearances, even at his beloved Maranatha Baptist Church, where he has taught Sunday School lessons to packed houses for decades.
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Carter had a liver mass, suspected to be cancerous, removed in August of 2015. Carter stated the following year that he was done with treatment because an experimental drug had completely eradicated any trace of cancer. In October, Carter and his family and friends gathered in Plains, the small town where he and his wife Rosalynn were born between World War I and the Great Depression.
In 2018, the Carter Center celebrated 40 years of working to advance human rights.
At least 113 elections in Africa, Latin America, and Asia have been tracked by the Center for Elections and Democracy since its inception in 1989. After years of public health campaigns to improve access to safe drinking water in Africa, the organisation recently announced that only 14 human cases of Guinea worm disease were reported in all of 2021, in what is perhaps its most widely lauded public health effort.
That’s a huge improvement from 1986, when 3.5 million people were infected with the parasitic disease and The Carter Center took charge of the global eradication effort. Carter has stated in the past that one of his goals in life is to outlive the last remaining Guinea worm.
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Carter was born to a wealthy family in rural south Georgia on October 1, 1924. He attended the United States Naval Academy during World War II, served as a naval officer during the Cold War, and then moved his young family back to Plains, Georgia to run the family peanut business after Earl Carter died in the 1950s.
After his defeat, Carter largely withdrew from electoral politics for several years. Even some Democrats were hesitant to fully accept him. The GOP used him as a punchline, portraying him as an ineffectual liberal. More progressive on race and gender equality than he had campaigned, Carter nonetheless governed as a technocrat, angering more liberal Democrats such as Ted Kennedy, the senator from Massachusetts who fought a damaging primary battle against the sitting president in 1980.
After leaving office, Carter admitted that he had misjudged the importance of dealing with Washington power brokers like the media and lobbying forces. Nonetheless, he maintained that his policies as a whole were effective, and that he had accomplished his goals to “protect our nation’s security and interests peacefully” and “enhance human rights here and abroad,” despite his colossal failure to win reelection.
Even after learning he had cancer as a centenarian, he was content with his long life. He stated, “I’m perfectly at ease with whatever comes,” back in 2015. I can say that my life has been full of adventure and fulfilment.
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