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How’s Jimmy Carter’s health? Former president is currently in hospice care after recent illnesses, injuries

The former president spent two days in hospice care with wife Rosalynn Carter before her death on Nov. 19.
/ Source: TODAY

Jimmy Carter is mourning the loss of his longtime love Rosalynn Carter following the death of the former first lady on Sunday, Nov. 19.

The "steel magnolia" died at age 96 in Plains, Georgia, in the family home she shared with her husband of 77 years.

The Carter Center confirmed the activist's death and included a statement from the 39th president that 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."

Two days before she died, Rosalynn Carter entered hospice care with her husband. Jimmy Carter, 99, has been in hospice care since February, according to the Carter Center.

Grandson Jason Carter said the couple were "spending time with each other" as they were being taken care of, NBC News reported.

Jimmy Carter, the longest-living U.S. president in history, celebrated his 99th birthday on Oct. 1. In honor of the special occasion, the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta held an event to pay tribute to his legacy.

About a week prior to his birthday, Jimmy Carter made his most recent public appearance in Georgia to celebrate the Plains Peanut Festival. The Carter Center reposted a video of the former president and his wife riding in a black SUV driving through the annual festival set in his hometown.

"Beautiful day for President & Mrs. Carter to enjoy a ride through the Plains Peanut Festival! And just a week before he turns 99," the center wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Jimmy Carter appeared to look out the window at the crowd of fans as the car cruised down the street.

The former peanut farmer is the first president to live until 95 or older and the only one to live to see the 40th anniversary of his inauguration. In recent years especially, his health has made headlines, and his family has shared updates about his time in hospice care. Here's what to know about Jimmy Carter's health history.

Jimmy Carter health update

Jimmy Carter today is living at home in hospice. He used to spend his days with his wife, Rosalynn Carter, who was diagnosed with dementia months before her death.

The couple's grandson Jason Carter, chairperson of the Carter Center's Board of Trustees, spoke in September about his grandparents' time together "coming to the end."

“He’s been in hospice now for several months, but they are happy,” he told USA Today at the time. “They are together. They are at home. They’re in love, and I don’t think anyone gets more than that. I mean, it’s a perfect situation for this time in their lives.”

Jimmy Carter faces "really significant physical challenges," and he spends his time watching baseball and seeing family members, Jason Carter added.

Josh Carter, another of the former president's 11 surviving grandchildren, told People in August that his grandfather is in “the final chapter” of his life, but "he's still fully Jimmy Carter.”

Although the former president is tired, Josh Carter said "he fully understands (how many well wishes he’s received) and has felt the love."

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Former president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, in 2018.Scott Cunningham / Getty Images

Josh Carter added that there's always someone at his grandparents' home, usually one of their four kids: Amy Carter, 56, John William "Jack" Carter, 76, James Earl "Chip" Carter III, 73, and Donnel Jeffrey "Jeff" Carter, 71. Recently, visitors to the home have only been caregivers and family, Josh Carter said.

He also said at the time his grandmother was "still able to form new memories" during her final months.

In February 2023, Jimmy Carter announced through his foundation, the Carter Center, that he'd be stopping medical intervention and only receiving hospice care. The news came after he'd survived a series of hospital stays.

Over the past several years, Jimmy Carter has survived cancer and multiple falls, among other illnesses.

In 2015, Jimmy Carter was diagnosed with and treated for metastatic melanoma.

In August 2015, Jimmy Carter underwent surgery to remove a small mass from his liver. At the time, the Carter Center called the procedure "elective" and said he'd make a full recovery.

Soon after, it was revealed that the mass on Jimmy Carter's liver was metastatic melanoma, and later on in August 2015, it was announced that Jimmy Carter's melanoma had spread to his brain, and he was preparing to undergo radiation treatment.

But by December 2015, he seemed to be cancer free. An MRI scan on Jimmy Carter's brain at the time did not show "any signs of the original cancer spots nor any new ones," according to a Carter Center statement. Afterward, he continued to receive immunotherapy treatments.

Jimmy Carter has a family history with cancer. His father, brother and both of his sisters died of pancreatic cancer. His mother was also diagnosed with the disease, NBC News reported.

A few years later, during a 2019 church service, Jimmy Carter reflected on his cancer scare and the possibility he was going to die. He said he was “absolutely and completely at ease with death.”

“I assumed, naturally, that I was going to die very quickly,” he said. “I obviously prayed about it. I didn’t ask God to let me live, but I asked God to give me a proper attitude toward death, and I found that I was absolutely and completely at ease with death.”

In 2019, Jimmy Carter had a series of falls and needed surgery.

In May 2019, Jimmy Carter fell at his Georgia home and broke his hip. Shortly afterward, he underwent surgery.

The injury occurred when he was getting ready to leave for a turkey hunting trip. The Carter Center shared a statement with NBC News at the time, proving that he was in good spirits.

“President Carter said his main concern is that turkey season ends this week, and he has not reached his limit,” the statement read. “He hopes the State of Georgia will allow him to rollover the unused limit to next year.”

In October 2019, Jimmy Carter fell again and needed 14 stitches in his forehead. Despite the injury and a black eye, he still traveled to Nashville to speak at a Habitat for Humanity event.

"I fell down and hit my forehead on a sharp edge and had to go to the hospital," he told the audience. "But I had a No. 1 one priority, and that was to come to Nashville and build houses."That same month, Jimmy Carter suffered a fractured pelvis from another fall at home. The Carter Center said in a statement at the time: “He has been admitted to Phoebe Sumter Medical Center for observation and treatment of a minor pelvic fracture. He is in good spirits and is looking forward to recovering at home.”

In November 2019, Jimmy Carter spent two weeks in the hospital in recovering from a procedure to relieve pressure on his brain caused by bleeding from several falls. Following the surgery, the Carter Center revealed that there were "no complications."

In October 2022, Jimmy Carter turned 98 and was still "with it."

As Jimmy Carter prepared to celebrate his 98th birthday in October 2022, his grandson Jason Carter shared some thoughts about the former president's life.

“He is looking at his 98th birthday with faith in God’s plan for him,” he told the Associated Press. “That’s just a beautiful blessing for all of us to know, personally, that he is at peace and happy with where he has been and where he’s going.”

Jason Carter described his grandfather as still being “100% with it” but acknowledged that “daily life things are a lot harder now.”

In February 2023, Jimmy Carter entered hospice care.

In February 2023, the Carter Center revealed that Jimmy Carter would soon commence in-home hospice care.

“After a series of short hospital stays, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter today decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention,” the statement read. “He has the full support of his family and his medical team. The Carter family asks for privacy during this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many admirers.”

The center did not share any details about his hospitalizations at the time.