Former United States First Lady Rosalynn Carter, the wife of former President Jimmy Carter and a devoted advocate for mental health died peacefully at home Sunday, the Carter Center announced. She was 96.
"Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished," Jimmy Carter said in a statement. "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."
She is survived by her children -- Jack, Chip, Jeff and Amy; 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren, the Carter Center said.
"Besides being a loving mother and extraordinary First Lady, my mother was a great humanitarian in her own right," Chip Carter said. "Her life of service and compassion was an example for all Americans. She will be sorely missed not only by our family but by the many people who have better mental health care and access to resources for caregiving today."
Rosalynn Carter entered hospice care at home last week, six months after she was diagnosed with dementia, the Carter Center announced at the time. Her husband had been in hospice care at home since February that same year.
"Mrs. Carter has been the nation's leading mental health advocate for much of her life. First in the Georgia Governor's Mansion, then in the White House, and later at The Carter Center, she urged improved access to care and decreased stigma about issues surrounding mental health," the Carter Center said in a statement after her dementia diagnosis.
Mrs. Carter served as the country's first lady during her husband's only term as U.S. president, from 1977 to 1981. The former first lady carved out a profound role at the White House, serving as an envoy abroad and as a political surrogate to her husband. She also raised four children, 12 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
In 1982, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter founded The Carter Center, a nonprofit devoted to advancing human rights and alleviating human suffering, shortly after Jimmy Carter lost his reelection bid to Ronald Reagan.