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Former President Jimmy Carter | Source: Getty Images
Former President Jimmy Carter | Source: Getty Images

President Jimmy Carter, 99, No Longer Wakes up Every Day — Funeral Plans Unveiled in His Final Days

Naomi Wanjala
Jun 12, 2024
05:30 A.M.

Former President Jimmy Carter is facing his toughest battle yet, but his spirit and legacy still shine bright. In the wake of his declining health, his family, always resilient, is right there with him. And as the world watches, everyone is reminded of the incredible impact he's had.

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Former President Jimmy Carter, once a robust figure, now faces a challenging battle for his health. After 16 months in hospice care, his condition remains dire. The death of his wife, Rosalynn Carter, a few months ago has only worsened his struggles.

Former President Jimmy Carter at the funeral service of his wife Rosalynn Carter at Maranatha Baptist Church, in Plains, Georgia, on November 29, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

Former President Jimmy Carter at the funeral service of his wife Rosalynn Carter at Maranatha Baptist Church, in Plains, Georgia, on November 29, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

Despite this, he continues to be surrounded by the love and support of his family. In a recent interview, the eldest of Jimmy and Rosalynn's grandchildren Jason Carter provided an update on the former president's health.

He said his 99-year-old grandfather has not shown any signs of improvement. He disclosed that there'd "really been no change" in his grandfather's condition. He, however, emphasized that Jimmy is experiencing the world as best as he can, navigating life without his beloved wife of 77 years.

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Jason Carter, grandson of former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church on November 28, 2023, in Atlanta, Georgia. | Source: Getty Images

Jason Carter, grandson of former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church on November 28, 2023, in Atlanta, Georgia. | Source: Getty Images

Jason reflected on the deep void left by Rosalynn's passing. He remarked, "After 77 years of marriage… I just think none of us really understand what it's like for him right now." He highlighted the profound and often incomprehensible nature of such a long-lasting bond.

Jason also noted that his grandfather didn't wake up every day. The situation has made it difficult for his children, who visit frequently, to predict what kind of day their father will have.

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This challenging time has highlighted the family's need to embrace the uncertainties as they continue to support him. Plans to honor and preserve his legacy have been thoughtfully prepared for a long time.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner will be honored with a grand state funeral in Washington, D.C. The pomp will be complete with a ceremony befitting a former president. Additionally, there will be a heartfelt memorial in his beloved hometown of Plains, Georgia.

Jimmy Carter waves to the congregation after teaching Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia on April 28, 2019. | Source: Getty Images

Jimmy Carter waves to the congregation after teaching Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia on April 28, 2019. | Source: Getty Images

Across the globe, small towns touched by the former President's humanitarian efforts will hold memorial services. This will ensure people from far and wide celebrate his remarkable life and legacy. Jason also revealed a special tribute. Jimmy and Rosalynn's cherished home in Plains will be donated to the National Park Service.

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Former president Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 30, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. | Source: Getty Images

Former president Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 30, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. | Source: Getty Images

The move is meant to invite the public to visit and experience the place the former President and first lady called home since 1961. Jason explained the reason behind the generous gesture. He said visiting Plains and seeing the house his grandparents built and lived in for most of their lives is an authentic American story.

What adds to this narrative is the simplicity and humility with which the lovebirds lived. After their White House years, they returned to Plains resuming their lives as regular people.

President Jimmy Carter, with First Lady Rosalynn behind, addresses the crowd from the stage at a White House Jazz Concert in June 1978. | Source :Getty Images

President Jimmy Carter, with First Lady Rosalynn behind, addresses the crowd from the stage at a White House Jazz Concert in June 1978. | Source :Getty Images

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"It’s an incredible story, going from a small town to the White House and back again," Jason reflected. For his grandparents, everything always led back to Plains, a testament to their grounded and genuine nature.

And Jason draws inspiration from their down-to-earth demeanor. Even in their choice of clothing, opting for the simplicity of shopping at the local Dollar General store in Plains.

Jimmy's health journey has been challenging. He's been battling brain and liver cancer while in hospice care for several months. At the 28th Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum, Jason provided an update on his grandfather's condition.

He acknowledged the inevitable end but highlighted Jimmy's continued presence. Jimmy chose comfort over further medical interventions opting for hospice care at home surrounded by family. His loved ones and medical team fully supported this decision.

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Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter working on houses in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 5, 2010. | Source: Getty Images

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter working on houses in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 5, 2010. | Source: Getty Images

Despite health challenges, Jimmy has defied expectations. His contribution to society even in his later years didn't go unnoticed. At 95, he participated in building homes for Habitat for Humanity. This served as a testament to his enduring spirit and commitment to service.

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Rosalynn, Jimmy's wife, passed away in November 2023 at the age of 96 after battling dementia. Her departure marked the end of an era. She left behind a legacy of advocacy for mental health, caregiving, and women's rights.

Her partnership with Jimmy was integral to his accomplishments. He affectionately recognized her as his equal partner in every endeavor. Jason also reflected on her legacy, stressing the importance of caregiving. This was central to Rosalynn's work and resonated in the family's experiences.

Jimmy Carter and his extended family, (L-R): Judy, Jason James, Jack, Annette, Jeff, Rosalynn, Amy Lynn, Jimmy, Caron Griffin Carter holding James Earl Carter IV, and son Chip Carter pose for a photo in January 1977. | Source: Getty Images

Jimmy Carter and his extended family, (L-R): Judy, Jason James, Jack, Annette, Jeff, Rosalynn, Amy Lynn, Jimmy, Caron Griffin Carter holding James Earl Carter IV, and son Chip Carter pose for a photo in January 1977. | Source: Getty Images

In the wake of Rosalynn's passing, Jimmy Carter is surrounded by his large and devoted family. Together, they welcomed four children—Jack, Chip, Jeff, and Amy—who, in turn, gave them 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

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The family remains united, cherishing their deep connections and supporting one another through this difficult time. Rosalynn often found comfort in the view from their front porch in Plains, where she could see the grassy slope where she and Jimmy planned to be buried side by side.

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Family member Danny Carter acknowledged Jimmy's profound sorrow but believes the former president finds some peace in the thought of reuniting with Rosalynn. He suggested that after a lifetime spent together, the idea of carrying on alone is understandably daunting.

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Dr. Jayne Morgan, a cardiologist, discussed what is commonly known as "broken heart syndrome." She explained that the loss of a spouse can cause significant stress and hormonal changes, which can severely impact the heart's function.

As Jimmy navigates the challenges of declining health, his family remains steadfast in their support, cherishing the memories and legacies of the former President and his wife. Their enduring commitment to service and advocacy continues to inspire and shape generations, leaving an indelible mark on the fabric of American history.

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