Rosalynn Carter, the former first lady of the United States and the closest adviser to Jimmy Carter during his one term as president, has died at age 96.
The Carter Center on Sunday said she “died peacefully, with family by her side” at her rural Georgia home of Plains after living with dementia and suffering many months of declining health.
“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” 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.”
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were the longest-married presidential couple, having wed in 1946 when he was 21 and she was 18.
After his term ended in 1981, he also enjoyed more post-White House years than any president before him and she played an instrumental role during those years, including as part of the nonprofit Carter Center and the Habitat for Humanity charity.
She was seen as unassuming and quiet before coming to Washington in 1977 but developed into an eloquent speaker, campaigner and activist.
Her abiding passion, which carried far beyond her White House years, was for those living with mental illness, not because of any personal connection but because of a strong feeling that advocacy was needed.
Before Jimmy Carter was elected president in 1976, Roslynn was largely unknown outside of Georgia, where her husband had been a peanut farmer-turned-governor.