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Former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter Passes Away at 96

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter, the wife of former President Jimmy Carter, passed away Sunday, the Carter Center announced. She was 96.

Earlier this year, the Carter family said she had dementia but was continuing to live happily at the couple’s home in Plains, Georgia.

On Friday, the Carter family announced that Carter had entered hospice care in their Georgia home.

Carter was determined not to be relegated to a ceremonial role. She worked in the tradition of former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt to make the position of first lady an extension of the president. She was the first first lady to maintain an office in the East Wing of the White House.

Her lifelong passion, was for the mentally ill, not because of any personal connection but because of a strong feeling that advocacy was needed. Carter said she longed for the day when the mentally ill would be free from discrimination.

The first lady also went on important official missions to Latin America. She engaged Central and South American government figures on issues that included human rights, beef exports, demilitarization, drug trafficking and nuclear energy.

“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” President Carter said. “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.”

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