Former first lady Rosalynn Carter died on Sunday at her home at 96 years old, The Carter Center announced.   

“She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it,” former President Jimmy Carter said in a statement. “As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”

In May, The Carter Center announced that Rosalynn was living with dementia. Last week, she joined her husband in hospice care at their Plains, Georgia, home. Former President Carter decided to spend his remaining time at home after a few short hospital stays, The Carter Center announced in February.   

The Carter Center said she “died peacefully, with family by her side.”  

The Carters were married for 77 years, making them the longest-married presidential couple.   

“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” President Carter said.  

The Carters had four children together, 11 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren. Their son Chip Carter said Rosalynn was “a loving mother and extraordinary first lady.”   

“My mother was a great humanitarian in her own right,” Chip Carter added. “Her life of service and compassion was an example for all Americans. She will be sorely missed not only by our family but by the many people who have better mental health care and access to resources for caregiving today.”  

They were both originally from Plains, Georgia, and started dating when she was 17 and a student at Georgia Southwestern University. Jimmy Carter reportedly told his mother that he had met his future wife after their first date.   

They had a strong bond and partnership, with the former president saying in a 2015 interview, “The best thing I ever did was marrying Rosalynn. That’s the pinnacle of my life.” 

The Carters embrace each other after hearing news of Jimmy Carter’s victory in the presidential election, Nov. 2, 1976. (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images).
Rosalynn shakes hands at a campaign event in New Hampshire, Oct. 24, 1979. (Photo: Diana Walker/Getty Images). 
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter wave after accepting his party’s nomination for president. (Photo: Shepard Sherbell/Corbis via Getty Images). 
First lady Rosalynn Carter and second lady Joan Mondale work at a table on an airplane to Iowa for an appearance for their husbands’ reelection campaigns in 1980. (Photo: Diana Walker/ Getty Images). 
The Carter family in 1977. Left to right: Judy (Mrs. Jack Carter); Jason James Carter; Jack (John William Carter); Annette (Mrs. Jeff Carter); Jeff (Donnel Jeffrey Carter); first lady Rosalynn Carter; daughter Amy Lynn Carter; President Carter; daughter-in-law Caron Griffin Carter holding James Earl Carter IV; and son Chip (James Earl Carter III). (Photo: CORBIS/Getty Images).
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter and their daughter Amy wave to a crowd at the 1980 Democratic National Convention. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images). 
First lady Rosalynn Carter plays basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters in March 1980. (Photo: Diana Walker/ Getty Images). 
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter with their daughter in hometown Plains, Georgia, in January 1981. (Photo: Chuck Fishman/Getty Images)
President Jimmy Carter is interviewed by the press on Air Force One with Rosalynn by his side. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images) 
President Jimmy Carter kisses Rosalyn after announcing reelection on Dec. 4, 1979. (Photo: Diana Walker/Getty Images)
Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter at the Baptist church in their hometown of Plains, Georgia, in 1976. (Photo: Michael Brennan/Getty Images). 
First lady Rosalynn Carter is welcomed by members of the Thai military on Nov. 7, 1979. (Photo: Diana Walker/Getty Images)
Outgoing President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter with President-elect Ronald Reagan and future first lady Nancy Reagan. (Photo: Diana Walker/Getty Images)
Rosalynn Carter at Habitat for Humanity on June 23, 2005. (Photo: R. Diamond/Getty Images)
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter attend the funeral service for former U.S. President George H. W. Bush at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 5, 2018. (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
Jimmy and Rossalyn Carter at the DNC in Boston, Massachusetts, on July 26, 2004. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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