11:35 GMT25 January 2021
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    At 96 years old, former US President Jimmy Carter is the oldest living president. Carter's absence from US President-elect Joe Biden's January 20 ceremony will mark his first missed inauguration since being sworn in as the 39th president of the US in 1977.

    A spokesperson with the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia, confirmed to reporters on Tuesday that Carter and his wife, 93-year-old former first lady Rosalynn Carter, "will not travel to Washington for the inauguration but have sent their best wishes to President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris." 

    According to the spokesperson, the Carters have expressed they "look forward to a successful administration." 

    Carter and his wife have attended every presidential inauguration since 1977 and 39 was notably one of the first US presidents to announce intent to attend Trump's 2017 inauguration.

    The 96-year-old, who in 2019 became the longest-living president in the history of the US, has spent most of the COVID-19 pandemic at his hometown of Plains, Georgia, the Associated Press reported. 

    Carter announced in August 2015 that his metastatic melanoma had spread to his liver and brain. While the former president believed he had "two or three weeks" to live following the diagnosis, he announced in December 2015 that he had beaten cancer following experimental treatment. 

    A reason for the returned invite was not provided, but Carter has made several visits to the hospital in recent years, including a string of procedures related to a broken hip in 2019

    The Carters' announcement comes around two weeks before Biden's scaled-back, COVID-19 guideline-friendly inauguration. 

    The president-elect's inaugural committee told Americans last month that the January 20th "ceremony’s footprint will be extremely limited, and the parade that follows will be reimagined," according to Politico


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    Joe Biden, Inauguration, Jimmy Carter
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