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Jimmy Carter, 98, met with applause as he makes rare appearance with wife amid hospice care

Jimmy Carter is the longest living president in US history

Former president Jimmy Carter prior to the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Cincinnati Bengals at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 30, 2018
Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca LewisReporterLos Angeles
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President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn have made a surprise appearance at the Plains Peanut Festival in Georgia, seven months after he entered hospice care. 

The former leader of the free world was caught on camera by locals traveling in a black SUV with his wife, 96, as part of the parade. They had their windows down so that onlookers could spot the pair. 

"Can y’all see who is in this car? God Bless Former President Jimmy Carter and Former First Lady Carter for making the #plainspeanutfestival parade this year!!! Happy early birthday to him! #JimmyCarter99," one local shared on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

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"Beautiful day for President & Mrs. Carter to enjoy a ride through the Plains Peanut Festival! And just a week before he turns 99. We’re betting peanut butter ice cream is on the menu for lunch! #JimmyCarter99," the Carter Center added, reposting the video. 

Jimmy was born in Plains, Georgia, and he continued to teach Sunday school classes in his hometown up until very recently.  He will turn 99 on October 1, 2023; he is already the longest living president in US history. 

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter attend the 25th anniversary MusiCares 2015 Person Of The Year Gala honoring Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 6, 2015© Getty Images
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter in 2015

In February the Carter Center announced in a statement that Jimmy would be moved to a hospice following "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," the statement said. "He has the full support of his family and his medical team," it continued. "The Carter family asks for privacy during this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many admirers." 

His grandson admitted earlier in August that "it's clear we're in the final chapter" of life for the former leader of the free world, with Josh Carter adding: "My grandparents have always been the entertainers. But now we're kind of the ones having to entertain. It’s different, it's just a different era." 

Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn attach siding to the front of a Habitat for Humanity home being built June 10, 2003 © Erik S. Lesser
Jimmy continued to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, and teach Sunday school

"There's always somebody at the house," Josh told People magazine, speaking of the care the two have been given. But, as Josh puts it, "he’s still fully Jimmy Carter". 

"He's just tired. I mean he's almost 99-years-old, but he fully understands [how many well wishes he's received] and has felt the love." 

President Jimmy Carter, seated at desk in Oval Office of White House © Bettmann
President Jimmy Carter, seated at desk in Oval Office of White House in 1980

President Carter led the United States for four years between 1977 and 1981; he inaugurated after defeating incumbent Republican President Gerald Ford, who had stepped in for former President Richard Nixon following the Watergate scandal. 

In 2002 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in co-founding the Carter Center which helps to conduct peace negotiations, monitor elections, and advance disease prevention and eradication across the globe. 

Jimmy Carter walks with his wife Rosalynn Carter in Plains, GA in 2018© The Washington Post
Jimmy and Rosalynn enjoy a walk in Plains, Georgia in 2018

He only sat in the White House for one term, but he became a hugely popular and lauded politician in the years after the presidency thanks to his ongoing work with humanitarian efforts through The Carter Center, and his partnerships with other sitting presidents. 

In 1994, he traveled to North Korea for a peace mission on the behalf of then President Bill Clinton, and in 2007 he announced his participation in The Elders, a group of independent global leaders who work together on peace and human rights issues that included Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan.   

Jimmy and Rosalynn have three sons, Jack, James III, and Donnel, and one daughter, Amy.  They are also grandparents to 12 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren.

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