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“You learn very quickly that there is no handbook or rules to being First Lady. Technically, it’s not even an official position. And while there are spoken and unspoken expectations that provide some structure, the role is largely shaped by the passions and aspirations of the person holding it.

First Lady Rosalynn Carter understood that well.

Guided by her abiding faith and her commitment to service, Mrs. Carter used her platform in profoundly meaningful ways. Her groundbreaking work to combat the stigma faced by those struggling with their mental health brought light to so many suffering in silence. She advocated for better care for the elderly. She advanced women’s rights. And she remained a champion for those causes — and many others like building affordable housing for those in need and caring for our nation’s caregivers — in the more than four decades that followed.

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When our family was in the White House, every so often, Rosalynn would join me for lunch, offering a few words of advice and always — always — a helping hand. She reminded me to make the role of First Lady my own, just like she did. I’ll always remain grateful for her support and her generosity.

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Today, Barack and I join the world in celebrating the remarkable legacy of a First Lady, philanthropist, and advocate who dedicated her life to lifting up others. Her life is a reminder that no matter who we are, our legacies are best measured not in awards or accolades, but in the lives we touch. We send our thoughts and prayers to Jimmy and the entire Carter family during this difficult time.”

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