“After a series of short hospital stays, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter today decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention. He has the full support of his family and his medical team. The Carter family asks for privacy during this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many admirers,” the organization said in a statement.
Carter’s grandson, former Georgia state Sen. Jason Carter, said in a tweet he saw his grandparents on Friday. “They are at peace and—as always—their home is full of love,” he said.
The 98-year-old former president—whose full name is James Earl Carter, Jr.—founded the Carter Center, a not-for-profit charity organization, in 1982.
He became the 39th U.S. president and served a tumultuous term that saw historically low approval numbers. He had been roundly criticized for the handling and failed rescue of, 52 American hostages held in Iran and his decision to do an interview with a porn magazine.
He won the 1976 presidential election after beginning the campaign as a little-known, one-term Georgia governor. His surprise performance in the Iowa caucuses established the small, Midwestern state as an epicenter of presidential politics. Carter went on to defeat Ford in the general election, largely on the strength of sweeping the South before his native region shifted heavily to Republicans.
His greatest legacy involved his work for peace.
Carter was awarded the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize for “undertaking peace negotiations, campaigning for human rights, and working for social welfare,” according to the Nobel Prize website. Many supporters, including Nobel Committee chairman, thought he deserved the award as early as 1978, when he negotiated a peace deal between Egypt and Israel.
He served just one term and was defeated by Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980 in one of the most lopsided presidential elections in history. Reagan won more electoral votes than any candidate in history, a record that stands today. Carter carried just six states.
Carter went on to work almost entirely in the non-profit field, a post presidential retirement that unique among former leaders of the country. Carter described himself as a born-again Christian and continued to teach Sunday school well into his 90s.
“The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices,” Carter said in accepting the prestigious award. “God gives us the capacity for choice. We can choose to alleviate suffering. We can choose to work together for peace. We can make these changes – and we must.”
In August 2015, Carter had a small cancerous mass removed from his liver. The following year, Carter announced that he needed no further treatment, as an experimental drug had eliminated any sign of cancer.
The news from Carter Center drew praises and prayers.
“President Jimmy Carter has lived a life of exceptional character and service. Terese and I wish him comfort and peace in the days ahead, and send our prayers to him and to the entire Carter family,” Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) wrote in a social media post.
Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) praised the former president as “the model of kindness, generosity, and decency.”
–Metro Voice and wire services