Former first lady of the United States, Rosalynn Carter, has died at the age of 96.
She died peacefully with her family by her side at her home in Plains, Georgia, according to the Carter Center, a nonprofit founded by her husband and former President Jimmy Carter, 99.
They were married for 77 years.
Mrs. Carter suffered from dementia.
“Rosalynn has been my full partner in everything I have accomplished,” Mr. Carter said.
“She gave me wise advice and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew someone loved and supported me.”
Unlike many previous first ladies, Rosalynn Carter attended cabinet meetings and represented her husband on foreign trips.
In 1977, just months into his presidency, Mr. Carter sent him to Latin America to tell dictators that he was seriously considering withholding military aid and other support from people who were violating human rights. .
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She was known to her aides, privately, as “co-president” during Mr. Carter’s single term, from 1977 to 1981.
At one point, she was forced to declare, “I don’t run the government.”
She chose mental health and elderly care as her main policy concerns. When the media didn’t cover her efforts as much as she would have liked, she criticized journalists for only writing about “sexy topics.”
As honorary chair of the President’s Commission on Mental Health, she testified before a Senate subcommittee, becoming the first first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt to address a congressional panel.
In 1984, she wrote in her autobiography, First Lady From Plains, that leaving Washington and returning to Georgia, after Ronald Reagan’s victory in the 1980 election, had not been easy.
“I was hesitant, not at all sure I could be happy here after the dazzle of the White House and the years of challenging political battles,” she said.
However, she adds: “Little by little, we regained the satisfaction of a life that we had left long before.”
Mrs. Carter is survived by her children Jack, Chip, Jeff and Amy, 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
A grandson died in 2015, the Carter Center said.
Chip Carter said his mother was a “great humanitarian” who will be “dearly missed not only by our family but also by the many people who now benefit from better mental health care and access to resources to provide care.” .