The former US first lady and the wife of former president Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn Carter, has passed away aged 96.
According to an official statement from the Carter Centre, issued on Sunday (19 November) afternoon, Rosalynn died peacefully at 2.10pm ET with her family by her side.
Mrs Carter was diagnosed with dementia in May of this year.
The former US first lady and the wife of former president Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn Carter, has passed away aged 96. (Getty Images)
On Friday (17 November), it was reported that Rosalynn had moved into a hospice care home in the Plains, Georgia, where she was residing with her husband Jimmy, 99, who had entered the hospice care home back in February.
The ex-president said in a statement: “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished.
“She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”
The couple’s middle son James ‘Chip’ Carter, 73, added: “Besides being a loving mother and extraordinary first lady, my mother was a great humanitarian in her own right. Her life of service and compassion was an example for all Americans.
“She will be sorely missed not only by our family but by the many people who have better mental health care and access to resources for caregiving today.”
Mrs Carter was diagnosed with dementia in May of this year. (Getty Images)
While serving as the First Lady from 1977 to 1981, Rosalynn Carter used her platform to advocate for mental health awareness and understanding toward those who struggle with mental illness.
Mrs Carter became the honorary chair of the President’s Commission on Mental Health and helped to pass the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980 which would give funding to local mental health centres. She was also the first First Lady in history to address the World Health Organisation.
Even after she and Jimmy Carter left the White House, Rosalynn was dedicated to campaigning for mental health care.
She established the Carter Centre’s Mental Health Program and worked to reduce stigmas surrounding mental illness, chaired the Carter Centre Mental Health Task Force, and launched the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism to promote in-depth, well-researched reporting on mental health issues.
Rosalynn Carter dedicated her life to advocating for mental health care and awareness. (Getty Images)
Rosalynn Carter also advocated for human rights, conflict resolution, empowering urban communities, early childhood immunisation from preventable diseases, refugee relief,
Over the years, she was honoured with many awards for her work, including the “Into the Light” Award from the National Mental Health Association, the “Award of Merit for Support of the Equal Rights Amendment” from the National Organisation for Women, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Rosalynn is survived by her husband Jimmy, their four children Amy, Donnel, James, and Jack, and 11 of their 12 grandchildren.
Respect can be paid via an online tribute book.