Former first lady Rosalynn Carter, the wife of former President Jimmy Carter died at age 96 on Sunday, the Carter Center announced.
“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” Jimmy Carter said in a statement. “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.”
She is survived by her children — Jack, Chip, Jeff, and Amy; 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren, the Carter Center said.
The news of her death comes after Rosalynn Carter entered hospice care in her home on Friday six months after she was diagnosed with dementia. Jimmy Carter has been in hospice care at home since February.
Rosalynn Carter was a humanitarian who championed mental health care as well as founded The Carter Center, a nonprofit devoted to advancing human rights.
“Twenty-five years ago, we did not dream that people might someday be able actually to recover from mental illnesses,” Carter said in 2003. “Today it is a very real possibility.”
“For one who has worked on mental health issues as long as I have,” she added, “this is a miraculous development and an answer to my prayers.”
Jimmy and Rosalynn were the longest-married presidential couple in U.S. history after being married on July 7, 1946. They relocated to Norfolk, Virginia following their wedding.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) praised Carter, saying “the transformational change she brought to mental wellness and to caregiving, inspiring people around the world to work towards a better future for all.”
Former first lady Michelle Obama said Carter “used her platform in profoundly meaningful ways” and praised her work done for the mental health community.
“When our family was in the White House, every so often, Rosalynn would join me for lunch, offering a few words of advice and always — always — a helping hand,” Obama wrote. “She reminded me to make the role of First Lady my own, just like she did. I’ll always remain grateful for her support and her generosity.”