Jimmy Carter announced the death of his grandson during a sermon at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, on Sunday. Although an autopsy has not been performed, sources said 28-year-old Jeremy Carter was feeling ill in the hours prior to his death.
The former President of the United States was nearly 30 minutes late to his much-anticipated Sunday School service. Despite the fact that he was visibly distraught, Jimmy apologized for his tardiness and explained that he had a family emergency.
Jimmy Carter said his grandson excused himself from dinner on Saturday evening — as he was feeling ill and wanted to lay down. Later than same evening, Jeremy’s mother, Annette, found him unresponsive.
NBC News reports the family attempted to perform CPR. Unfortunately, it was simply too late. Jeremy Carter’s cause of death is unknown, as the incident is currently under investigation. However, sources said the young’s man’s heart suddenly “quit beating.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) December 20, 2015
Following the heartbreaking announcement, Jimmy continued with his sermon — reminding his guests to “be filled with a sense of joy and thanksgiving,” even during the hard times. Despite the sudden loss of his grandson, the former President of the United States said he is “… thankful to God for giving [him] both life and freedom.”
In the months preceding his grandson’s death, Jimmy Carter announced he was diagnosed with cancer.
As reported by AJC, the 91-year-old man had a lesion removed from his liver, and was being treated for four similar lesions on his brain. Last week, he announced he successfully completed numerous rounds of treatment and was declared cancer-free.
Although he is still receiving treatment, the former President of the United States said he and his doctors are optimistic.
Jill Stuckey, who attended the December 20 Sunday School sermon, said Jimmy Carter’s decision to move forward with the sermon speaks to his determination and strong character.
“His decision to come teach Sunday school is indicative of his character, how important this church is to him, teaching is to him… The past few months have been a very emotional time for this church. There have been moments of great joy, of sadness, of grief. The church has done all it can to lift the Carters up during this difficult time.”
A native of Plains, Georgia, Jimmy was the son of a peanut farmer and a registered nurse. A studious and responsible young man, Carter began working for his father when he was just 10-years-old.
Biography reports Jimmy graduated from high school in 1941. He then attended Georgia Southwestern Junior College and the Georgia Institute of Technology prior to his acceptance at the Annapolis, Maryland, based prestigious Naval Academy.
Following his 1946 graduation from the Naval Academy, Carter married his childhood friend, Rosalynn Smith. Nine years later, he entered the world of politics — when he was elected as a member of the Sumter County Board of Education.
In 1962, Jimmy Carter was elected to serve on the Georgia State Senate. Eight years later, he was elected as Georgia’s governor.
In 1976, Carter announced his bid for the presidential election.
With a campaign focused on “reducing government waste, balancing the budget and increasing government assistance to the poor,” Jimmy promised the voters he would “never tell a lie… never avoid a controversial issue.”
Although he was largely unknown prior to his decision to run, he was elected as the 39th President of the United States. Although he only served one term, and his presidency was widely believed to be a failure, Carter is well-respected for his humanitarian work with the Carter Presidential Center and Habitat for Humanity.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) December 20, 2015
The death of Jimmy Carter’s grandson, at such a young age, was specifically devastating as it was entirely unexpected. As the family continues to deal with the immense loss, medical examiners are working toward determining Jeremy’s official cause of death.
[Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images]