Former President Jimmy Carter celebrates 96th birthday

Former President Jimmy Carter (Photo: ZUMA Press/MGN)

ATLANTA (AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter marks his 96th birthday Thursday, the latest milestone for the longest lived of the 44 men to hold the highest American office.

Carter planned to celebrate at his home in Plains, Georgia, with his wife of 74 years, Rosalynn Carter, according to a spokeswoman for the Carter Center in Atlanta.

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The 39th president, in office from 1977-81, has largely receded from the public eye amid the coronavirus pandemic and his own health challenges due to a series of falls in 2019.

He previously survived a dire cancer diagnosis in 2015. Yet Carter remains a quiet force still active in both politics at home and, through his post-presidential center, in public health and human rights advocacy around the world.