First cancer, and now this. Jimmy Carter told the congregation at his church on Sunday that he was 25 minutes late because his grandson, 28-year-old Jeremy Carter, had died just hours before, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Carter said his grandson was feeling sick Saturday and took a nap at the family residence in Peachtree City. Jeremy's mom later checked on him and found his heart was no longer beating. Carter, 91, spoke about the family tragedy before teaching Sunday school class at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga., but gave no further details. "He’s a great kid, it’s so sad," church member Jill Stuckey says of Jeremy. "Life’s full of its ups and downs and the Carters aren’t immune."
Indeed, Carter announced in August that four melanoma lesions had been spotted in his brain and he would undergo radiation therapy and drug treatments. The former US president recently said that after four treatments, doctors found no new malignancy and the original lesions were gone (the Star-Ledger interviews an oncologist about Carter's effective therapy). For some congregants at Maranatha Baptist Church, the real story is that Carter showed up at all to teach his regular Sunday school class. "I’m not surprised," says a church member. "That’s the kind of Christian he is. 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."