Grandson says Jimmy Carter is 'coming to the end' in brief update about former president's health

Carter, 99, entered hospice in February 2023

ByMichelle Shen, CNN CNNWire logo
Wednesday, May 15, 2024
Carter 'coming to the end,' grandson says in update on former pres.
Jason Carter, 1 of the grandchildren of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, gave an update on the former president's health.

ATLANTA -- Jimmy Carter's grandson said Tuesday that the former president is "coming to the end" in a brief update about the 39th president's health.

"(My grandfather) is doing OK," Jason Carter said at a mental health forum named in honor of his grandmother, the late former first lady Rosalynn Carter, at the Carter Center. "He has been in hospice, as you know, for almost a year and a half now, and he really is, I think, coming to the end that, as I've said before, there's a part of this faith journey that is so important to him, and there's a part of that faith journey that you only can live at the very end and I think he has been there in that space."

Jimmy Carter, now 99, became the oldest living president in history after George H.W. Bush died in 2018 at the age of 94. He has survived metastatic brain cancer, liver cancer and a number of health scares, including brain surgery after a fall in 2019. He entered hospice care in February 2023 after a series of hospital stays and made a rare public appearance to attend his wife's memorial service back in November, CNN reported.

"My grandmother's passing was a difficult moment for all of us, including my grandfather," Jason Carter said Tuesday. But, he added, "The outpouring of love and support that we, as a family, received from people in this room and from the rest of the world was so remarkable and meaningful to us. And it really turned that whole process into a celebration."

Rosalynn Carter made mental health advocacy one of her key areas of focus as Georgia and America's first lady. In 1977, Carter made it her signature cause, notably through the creation of the President's Commission on Mental Health. Her efforts resulted in increased research funding, broader treatment access and innovative approaches to mental health care.

Jason Carter said that moments with his grandfather over the past year reminded him of the mental illness aspects related to caregiving, another cause his grandmother championed.

During the speech, he recounted one conversation with the former president as they watched an Atlanta Braves game together.

"I said, 'Pa Pa ... people ask me how you're doing and I say, I don't know.' And he said, 'Well, I don't know myself.' And so, he's still there," Jason Carter said, laughing.

The former president's health has been the subject of widespread attention in recent years, especially since he entered hospice. Speaking with CBS in February, Jason Carter said his grandfather's spirit was "as strong as ever."

The former president is widely revered for his championing of human rights. His brokering of the Camp David Accords in 1978 with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin remains central to his legacy.

A peanut farmer and U.S. Navy lieutenant before going into politics, Carter, a Democrat, served one term as governor of Georgia before serving as president of the United States from 1977 to 1981.

The-CNN-Wire & 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.