Melinda French Gates, Philanthropist

Today, we lost Rosalynn Carter, one of my heroes. Through her activism, her advocacy, her leadership of The Carter Center, and her lifetime of public service, she left our world better for having walked on it.

On a visit to a mill during one of her husband’s first campaigns, Rosalynn Carter met an exhausted worker who confided that she still faced a long night of caring for her mentally ill daughter. In that stranger’s story, Rosalynn heard a call to action and devoted her life to it.

Mental health was an issue that few public figures were addressing at the time, but Rosalynn refused to let stigma be an excuse for silence. She took up the cause with courage and compassion.

Rosalynn was also one of the first to give voice to the important role caregivers play in our society. She helped others understand both the value of their work—and how much it can ask of caregivers themselves.

My thoughts are with her family as they mourn the loss of this extraordinary woman.