"Her philanthropy will live on" - Billie Jean King pays tribute to former US First Lady Rosalynn Carter after her passing at the age of 96
Billie Jean King paid her respects to former US First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who died at the age of 96 on November 19. The American tennis legend penned a tribute to Carter ahead of her memorial service on November 29.
Rosalynn Carter was married to former US President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981). She was widely praised and revered for her philanthropic and humanitarian projects, advocacy for mental health causes, and tireless work to destigmatize mental illnesses.
The Carters, married for 77 years, were also renowned for their work with the non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity.
In May 2023, Rosalynn Carter was diagnosed with dementia, and she entered hospice care on November 17, just two days before her death. A memorial service was held at the Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, on November 29.
The tribute ceremony was attended by President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, former President Bill Clinton, and all living former First Ladies, Hilary Clinton, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama, and Melania Trump. President Carter, 99, who entered hospice care 10 months ago, also attended the service. He was seen in a wheelchair and flanked by his four children.
Billie Jean King marked the occasion with a heartfelt tribute that highlighted Rosalynn Carter's selfless philanthropy. The WTA legend took to X to share her message and wished the Carter family well.
"Her philanthropy will live on. Thinking of the entire Carter family, as they attend Rosalynn's memorial service in Atlanta today," Billie Jean King wrote on X.
Billie Jean King hits the tennis court on her 80th birthday
Billie Jean King turned 80 on November 22. The American celebrated her birthday with her wife, Ilana Kloss, and close family members. She also shared a glimpse of how she marked the special day on Instagram.
In her post, King attached a video of her hitting some forehands on a tennis court, alongside her enjoying time with family and cutting a cake baked by her niece.
"Tennis followed by cake, baked by my talented niece, @larabeesays, with my wonderful family. Couldn't ask for more. I am so lucky. 80, I'm ready for you," King captioned the post.
Billie Jean King has been one of the most consequential figures in tennis history. The trailblazing American lifted 39 Grand Slam titles, including 12 in singles, 16 in women's doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. Her biggest contribution to the sport has been creating an independent organization catering to women's tennis needs.
King formed the Women's Tennis Association in 1973 and changed the course of women's tennis forever. She was one of the first nine members of the WTA. The group also included Julie Heldman, Valerie Ziegenfuss, Judy Dalton, Kristy Pigeon, Peaches Bartkowicz, Kerry Melville Reid, Nancy Richey, and Rosie Casals.