The former president terminated medical intervention in February amid his own health challenges, and had been living privately in hospice care at home prior to Tuesday’s ceremony
Jimmy Carter made a rare and poignant public appearance on Tuesday afternoon, attending his late wife Rosalynn Carter’s memorial service in Atlanta.
The former president, 99, terminated medical intervention in February amid his own health challenges, and had been in hospice care at home prior to Tuesday’s ceremony.
Related: Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter’s Relationship Timeline: Inside Their 77-Year Marriage
Rosalynn, meanwhile, was diagnosed with dementia in May, and entered hospice care just days ahead of her death on Nov. 19 at age 96. According to a news release from The Carter Center, she died “peacefully” at her longtime Plains, Georgia, home “with her family by her side.”
In an accompanying statement, President Carter said, “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished. 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.”
Related: Rosalynn Carter Will Lie in Repose in Atlanta as Public Mourns First Lady’s Death
Rosalynn was married to Jimmy, the 39th president of the United States, for 77 years, and served as the nation’s barrier-breaking first lady during his tenure from 1977 to 1981. She is survived by their four children — Jack, Chip, Jeff, and Amy — and numerous grandchildren and great-children.
Forever sweethearts who met when they were just babies, the former first lady and former president coined a sweet phrase they shared with each other: “ILYTG.”
“‘I love you the goodest.’ That’s what my mother and daddy used to say back and forth, and I picked it up with Rosa,” the nation’s 39th president told PEOPLE back in 2014. “Now all our children do the same thing – ILYTG on the phone or in emails. They generally just put the initials.”
Related: Jimmy Carter Calls Late Wife Rosalynn His ‘Equal Partner in Everything’ After Her Death at 96
The ceremonies for Rosalynn began on Monday with a wreath-laying at Georgia Southwestern State University’s Rosalynn Carter Health and Human Sciences Complex. The motorcade accompanying Rosalynn made stops at at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Americus, Georgia, where past and current members of her Secret Service detail escorted the hearse.
The former first lady was then taken to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, where members of the public were invited to pay respects.
Related: Bidens, Clintons and Michelle Obama Arrive in Georgia Together for Rosalynn Carter’s Memorial: Photos
Tuesday’s invitation-only ceremony was attended by Jimmy as well as current President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff.
Every living U.S. first lady — including Dr. Jill Biden, Melania Trump, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush — also attended Tuesday’s tribute service for Rosalynn.
On Wednesday, Nov. 28, a formal funeral service for family and friends will take place at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains.
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