Rosalynn Carter, Former US First Lady and Mental Health Advocate, Passes Away at 96

The former US president said in 2015 marrying Rosalynn was the “best thing” he did. Picture: Scott Cunningham / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

Former US first lady Rosalynn Carter, wife, and life partner of the 39th president of the United States, Jimmy Carter, has passed away at their Georgia home at the age of 96. The Carter Center, a not-for-profit humanitarian organization founded by the couple, announced her peaceful passing on Sunday afternoon with family by her side.

Ms. Carter, a mental health advocate during her husband’s presidency, was diagnosed with dementia in May 2023. Despite her diagnosis, she lived happily at their residence in Plains, Georgia, where the couple was born and raised. They had resided in their one-story house since 1962, well before Jimmy Carter’s election as a Georgia state senator.

Entering hospice care on Friday, Ms. Carter and President Carter were married in 1946 and shared a remarkable 77-year journey, raising four children together. In a statement released by the Carter Center, the former president reflected on his life with his late wife, acknowledging her as his equal partner and a source of guidance and encouragement.

“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished. She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it,” he said. “As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”

The Carters met during the Second World War when Jimmy Carter was at the US naval academy in Maryland. After the war, they managed the Carter family’s peanut farm until he entered politics. During Jimmy Carter’s presidency, Ms. Carter became an honorary chair of the President’s Commission on Mental Health, advocating for significant reforms to mental health policy.

Following the presidency, Rosalynn Carter co-founded Every Child by Two (now known as Vaccinate Your Family), advocating for childhood immunizations by the age of two. The couple’s final public appearance was at the Plains Peanut Festival parade in September, shortly before President Carter’s 99th birthday.

An online tribute book honoring the former First Lady is available at