Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s grandson Jeremy has died. He was only 28. Carter announced his grandson’s death during a Sunday School class at Maranatha Baptist Church. Jeremy may have died of a heart attack, which is rare for a 28-year-old. Doctors are currently unsure of exactly what happened.
Here’s what we know so far.
1. He Was Found Unresponsive & Later Died at a Hospital Near His Home
Jeremy Carter was only 28 when he was found unresponsive, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The exact cause of death has not yet been determined. He died early Sunday at a hospital near his home in Peachtree City.
When Jimmy Carter shared the sad news during his Sunday School class, he encouraged his class to find joy and thanksgiving even in the face of sorrow. “I should be joyful and thankful to God for giving me both life and freedom,” Jimmy Carter told his class.
During his Sunday School class, Jimmy said that Jeremy was a very special child who had been planning to transfer to a college that was closer to his family, NBC News reported.
2. His Family Said He Wasn’t Feeling Well on Saturday, But He Didn’t Have Known Heart Issues
Jeremy wasn’t feeling well on Saturday around supper time, so he laid down at his family’s home in Peachtree to take a nap, AJC reported. When his mother checked on him later, she found out that his heart had stopped. According to one of Jeremy’s brothers, Jeremy had a heart attack. The family immediately tried CPR and Jeremy was taken to the hospital, where he died later in the early morning hours, Fox 6 News reported. It’s not yet clear what happened. It’s very unusual for a 28-year-old’s heart to just stop.
On a blog, one of Jeremy’s brothers said that Jeremy had a battery of tests done just a few weeks ago, and nothing had been found wrong with his heart. The tests were done because he wasn’t eating well and his legs were hurting. At the time, he was prescribed Vitamin A and Vitamin D. It’s not known if those tests and the problems he was having then are related to his heart stopping.
3. He Was a ‘Fun-Loving Guy’ Who Was Arrested as a Teenager for Theft
A member of Maranatha Baptist Church said that Jeremy was a fun-loving guy who visited his grandfather’s church in Plains whenever he could, AJC reported. He was a great kid, church members said. Jeremy only had one run-in with the law, back in 2005 when he was just a teenager. He was sentenced to 30 days of house arrest and 36 days of probation for stealing a video game console, the Chicago Tribune reported. The victim didn’t want young Jeremy Carter to go to jail, so his charges were reduced from burglary to misdemeanor theft by taking. Normally, a burglary conviction could have led to up to three years in prison. He also had to perform 100 hours of community service and undergo drug counseling, USA Today reported.
Jeremy’s parents were Jeff Carter and Annette Jene Davis. They have two other sons, Joshua and James. Jeff Carter has a degree in geography and is the cofounder of Computer Mapping Consultants, the Georgia Encyclopedia reported.
Jeremy had a big sense of humor and a zest for life. He shared many photos on his Facebook page, including this picture that his friends found hilarious:
It’s important to note that some people mistakenly believe Jeremy Carter was the grandson of Jimmy Carter who was involved in the infamous “47 percent” video about Romney. That was not Jeremy Carter. The grandson involved in that video was Jeremy’s cousin, James Carter IV.
4. His Brother Wrote a Heart-Wrenching Blog Post About Jeremy’s Death
One of Jeremy’s brothers wrote a heart-wrenching blog post about his brother’s death here. He said that his father called him around 10 pm to tell him that Jeremy was in the hospital. The hospital staff did everything they could to save Jeremy, he said, but it just wasn’t enough. His heart stopped a second time at the hospital and they did CPR for 10 minutes. His brother wrote that they were told Jeremy would have severe brain damage if they kept doing CPR and he survived, which was not likely. He died around 2 am.
His brother wrote that everything that happened was surreal. He wrote:
I am waiting to wake up or for somebody to tell me that it was a nightmare or a horrible case of mistaken identity or really for somebody that knows all the facts to just tell me that the facts are not true… I want the universe to lie to me. Just this once.”
His brother’s words echo the feelings that many people feel when they lose a loved one unexpectedly. The world seems surreal and it seems that any minute, you’ll hear it was all a mistake.
All I am really doing is negotiating with the universe, trying to find an inconsistency, trying to find a chink in the reality of events, the failure in the cosmic equation, hoping if I find the flaw that I can prove to the world that it didn’t actually happen and that Jeremy and I can laugh about it…”
5. Carter Shared His Grandson’s Death During the Same Sunday School Class Where He Had Announced His Cancer Remission Just Two Weeks Earlier
Jimmy Carter teaches a Sunday school class almost every week at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains. He arrived 25 minutes late for his class on Sunday, the first time he had ever been late to teach, AJC reported. Just before he began teaching, he shared what happened to Jeremy. One member of Maranatha, Jan Williams, told AJC that Jimmy Carter uses all of his life experiences, good and bad, to share lessons for the church.
“That’s the kind of Christian he is,” Williams to AJC. “Everything that happens in life, good or bad, he uses as a teaching experience. He lives his life as a lesson for other people to see.”
The sad news comes just a couple weeks after Jimmy Carter had announced his own amazing news at Maranatha Baptist. On Dec. 6, Carter had told Maranatha that doctors couldn’t find any evidence of cancer on his liver or his brain. He was still undergoing treatments with a new drug called Keytruda that beefs up the immune system’s response to specific cancers. Back in August, melanoma lesions were found on his brain and liver. The prognosis didn’t look good, but Jimmy Carter has beaten that outlook and now appears to be cancer free.