Jimmy Carter's children and grandchildren remain at his side during hospice care, relative says

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Jimmy Carter's family announced the former president was entering hospice care following many years of declining health.

CNN  — 

Close relatives of former US President Jimmy Carter are remaining by his side as he receives hospice care at his home in Georgia, a family member told CNN Friday.

“It’s his kids and grandkids up there,” LeAnne Smith, a niece of Carter’s wife, Rosalynn, told CNN.

Carter, who turned 98 last year, became the oldest living US president in history after the passing of George H.W. Bush, who died in late 2018 at 94. Carter’s family announced Saturday the former president was entering hospice care following many years of declining health.

The nation’s 39th president has kept a low public profile in recent years due to the coronavirus pandemic but has continued to speak out about risks to democracy around the world, a longtime cause of his.

Carter beat brain cancer in 2015 but faced a series of health scares in 2019, and consequentially underwent surgery to remove pressure on his brain. His health woes forced him to give up his decades-long tradition of teaching Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia.

As Carter enters the final stages of his life, Smith believes this period can bring comfort to family surrounding him.

“I know I had conversations with my dad when he had cancer and was in hospice, and it’s just invaluable time you can never appreciate enough,” said Smith.

Smith said she visited Carter’s home in Plains on Sunday to speak with his family, but the former president was resting at the time. Smith last saw Carter a month ago, she said, when he and Rosalynn were taking a golf cart ride to downtown Plains.

The Carters’ announcement of his hospice care brought a flood of media and well-wishers to his small hometown, which Smith said has been “good for all of us in the healing process.”

She added that others who “have come to share and witness his legacy, I think it’s been a very, very good thing.”

A peanut farmer and US Navy lieutenant before going into politics, Carter, a Democrat, eventually served one term as governor of Georgia and president of the United States from 1977 to 1981.

The former president is widely revered for his championing of human rights. His brokering of the Camp David Accords in 1978 with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin remains central to his legacy.

In his post-presidency years, Carter founded The Carter Center along with his wife, Rosalynn, in hopes of advancing world peace and health. The center has worked to advance democracy by monitoring foreign elections and reducing diseases in developing countries over the years.

“After a series of short hospital stays, former US President Jimmy Carter today decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention,” a statement from The Carter Center posted last week read. “He has the full support of his family and his medical team.”

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