First lady Jill Biden shares 'sad news' of death of her friend, former first lady Rosalynn Carter

November 25, 2023

First lady Jill Biden was visibly upset as she shared the "sad news" with others on Sunday of the death of one of her predecessors, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, according to The Hill.

The wife of former President Jimmy Carter passed away Sunday morning at the age of 96, just days after she had entered in-home hospice care due to her worsening condition of dementia, which was first diagnosed in March.

Jill gets emotional sharing news of Rosalynn's death

The current president and first lady were in Norfolk, Virginia on Sunday afternoon to meet with military families and participate in a "Friendsgiving" meal and celebration.

"I’m sorry that I have to lead this off with a sad announcement," Jill Biden said to begin the event alongside Joe Biden. "Our former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has just passed."

"And she was well known for her efforts on mental health and caregiving and women’s rights," she added. "So, I hope that during the holidays, you’ll consider saying your -- include the Carter family in your prayers."

Biden's release statement to honor life of Rosalynn Carter

The White House on Sunday also released a formal joint statement from President Biden and the first lady, who said, "First Lady Rosalynn Carter walked her own path, inspiring a nation and the world along the way."

"Throughout her incredible life as First Lady of Georgia and the First Lady of the United States, Rosalynn did so much to address many of society’s greatest needs," they continued. "She was a champion for equal rights and opportunities for women and girls; an advocate for mental health and wellness for every person; and a supporter of the often unseen and uncompensated caregivers of our children, aging loved ones, and people with disabilities."

"Above all, the deep love shared between Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter is the definition of partnership, and their humble leadership is the definition of patriotism. She lived her life by her faith," the first couple stated. "Time and time again, during the more than four decades of our friendship -- through rigors of campaigns, through the darkness of deep and profound loss -- we always felt the hope, warmth, and optimism of Rosalynn Carter. She will always be in our hearts."

Joe and Jill added, "On behalf of a grateful nation, we send our love to President Carter, the entire Carter family, and the countless people across our nation and the world whose lives are better, fuller, and brighter because of the life and legacy of Rosalynn Carter. May God bless our dear friend. May God bless a great American."

Bidens plan to attend Carter's memorial service in Atlanta

According to CBS News, the current president, first lady, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will travel to Atlanta, Georgia next week to attend a memorial service at Emory University for former first lady Carter on Tuesday.

That memorial service will take place after Carter lies in repose on Monday at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, during which the general public can pay their respects to the former first lady, and will be followed by a more private funeral service and interment at Carter's church in their hometown of Plains, Georgia on Wednesday.

In honor of Carter, President Biden ordered all U.S. flags to be flown at half-staff -- as did the governors of Georgia and Minnesota, Rosalynn's home state.

CBS News noted that former President Jimmy Carter, who has been in hospice care since February, hopes to attend in person the funeral of his beloved late wife, whom he married in 1946. In addition to her husband, Rosalynn Carter leaves behind four children, 22 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and countless admirers, friends, and supporters of her humanitarian work.

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