Tributes pour in for former President Jimmy Carter after he enters hospice care

Former President Jimmy Carter

Former President Jimmy Carter smiles as he is awarded the Order of Manuel Amador Guerrero by Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela during a ceremony at the Carter Center, Jan. 14, 2016, in Atlanta. (John Bazemore/AP)

Online tributes have been rolling in for former President Jimmy Carter, after it was announced that the 98-year-old statesman would enter hospice care at home following a recent series of short hospital stays.

Politicians, celebrities, organizations and more have been heaping praise on the one-term Democrat who continued leading a life of public service long after he left the White House.

“Jimmy Carter is one of the kindest most thoughtful people I’ve ever had the honor of meeting,” comedian and writer Jon Stewart said. “He’s the best of us.”

Former comedian-turned-senator Al Franken simply said Carter was the “greatest ex-president. By far.”

A number of current politicians — both Democrats and Republicans — also celebrated Carter’s accomplishments.

Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee called Carter an “American treasure and icon” and said he was one of the country’s most caring presidents.

“From the time he began his service in the United States military and through his presidency, he showed a consciousness of caring,” Jackson Lee said.

Carter became the 39th U.S. president after he defeated incumbent Republican Gerald Ford in the 1976 election.

Over the weekend, presidential historian Michael Beschloss shared a series of photos of Carter on social media, including one during his presidency of Carter in the Oval Office with Joe Biden.

Harvard University history professor Annette Gordon-Reed, who wrote The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, said she was too young to vote for Carter but supported his campaign by helping to run the group Youth for Carter.

“I went door-to-door handing out pamphlets, made calls. Thrilled when he won. Knew all his cabinet, watched all his press conferences. Devastated when he lost,” Gordon-Reed added.

Carter failed to win a second term as president, but his defeat by Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980 did not knock him out of public life.

In 1982, he and his wife Rosalynn founded the nonprofit Carter Center, and the one-time president also helped to build homes for the housing organization, Habitat for Humanity — even into his mid-90s.

“All of us at Habitat for Humanity are lifting up President and Mrs. Carter in prayer as he enters hospice care. We pray for his comfort and for their peace,” the organization said.

Outside of work, Carter and his wife were also dedicated birders, a hobby the family hatched after a trip to Tanzania in 1988, he told the National Wildlife Federation.

The magazine BirdWatching said it was “wishing peace and love to President Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, who have been avid birdwatchers since the late 1980s.”

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