Jimmy Carter, Oldest Living U.S. President and 'The Man From Plains,' Turns 97

Jimmy Carter, the longest-living former president in U.S. history, celebrates his 97th birthday on Friday.

Carter surpassed former President George H.W. Bush as the oldest former president in March 2019. Bush was born fewer than four months before Carter and had been the oldest former president at the time of his death in November 2018 at 94.

Several weeks before Carter's birthday, his wife Rosalynn sent a message through The Carter Center encouraging Americans to sign a virtual birthday card for her husband.

"On his birthday, there is nothing that would make Jimmy happier than to receive greetings from his friends," the former first lady's message said. "Throughout his life Jimmy has fought tirelessly for the rights of others. Even after 75 years of marriage I am still constantly amazed by his energy and his commitment to helping those in need.

"Please take a moment to sign the birthday wall and let him know that you share his dreams for peace," her message continued. "Thank you for making his day so special!"

Jimmy Carter turns 97
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter celebrates his 97th birthday on October 1. Above, Carter smiles during a book signing event at Barnes & Noble in midtown Manhattan on March 26, 2018. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Carter Center's website features a link that directs visitors to a virtual birthday card, where individuals can post personalized messages for the former president. Some who shared birthday wishes included photos they took alongside Carter at some point in the past; others shared recent pictures of themselves or historical photos of the Carters.

President Carter's 97th birthday is fast approaching! 🥳 We're humbled by the outpouring of support and cheer from around the world. We've set up a special card for him: https://t.co/ZWf9F2Ojsc. Please sign with your best wishes and/or photo! ✍️#HappyBirthday #JimmyCarter pic.twitter.com/dP7b8NxsaB

— The Carter Center (@CarterCenter) September 24, 2021

Rosalynn Carter, the oldest surviving former first lady, celebrated her 94th birthday in August. The Carters also celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary over the summer.

Forty years have passed since Carter, the country's 39th president, left the White House in 1981 after his failed bid for a second term during the 1980 presidential election. Shortly after leaving office, the Carters founded The Carter Center, a human rights nonprofit that works to advocate for peace and democracy around the world. In addition to his work with the center, Carter has continued to speak out on political issues in the U.S. and abroad.

Carter was born in Plains, Georgia, on October 1, 1924, as the son of a farmer and registered nurse. He spent time in the U.S. Navy before launching his political career and joining Georgia's state Senate as an elected official in the early 1960s. Carter went on to become his state's 76th governor before running for president in 1976.

A documentary titled Man from Plains was released in 2007 focusing on a promotional tour Carter took for his book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. Additional documentary-styled films—including Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President and Carterland, both of which were released earlier this year—have delved into the former president's life and legacy, with yet another biographical study released in the form of a comic book earlier this week.

Newsweek reached out to the Carter Center for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.