"He and Mrs. Carter look forward to enjoying Thanksgiving at home in Plains, where he will continue to recover," a spokeswoman said

By Adam Carlson
November 27, 2019 11:02 AM

Former President Jimmy Carter will spend Thanksgiving at home with wife Rosalynn Carter after he was released from an Atlanta hospital on Wednesday following his recovery from surgery to relieve pressure on his brain.

President Carter, the nation’s oldest living ex-president at 95, was hospitalized about two weeks ago in order to undergo the surgery to treat a subdural hematoma from his repeated falls.

A spokeswoman said Wednesday he had left Emory University Hospital that morning and was returning to Plains, Georgia, his hometown and where he has lived nearly all his life.

“He and Mrs. Carter look forward to enjoying Thanksgiving at home in Plains, where he will continue to recover,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “The Carters are grateful for all the prayers, cards, and notes they have received and hope everyone will join them in enjoying a special Thanksgiving.”

RELATED: Close Friend Says Jimmy Carter ‘Is Doing Fine’ After Surgery — but Is Probably Missing His Sunday School Class 

On Nov. 11, The Carter Center, Carter’s humanitarian organization with Mrs. Carter, announced that he had been hospitalized in Atlanta in preparation for surgery the next day to “relieve pressure on his brain” following bleeding caused by a series of falls.

The next morning, the center said he was recovering after the procedure to treat a subdural hematoma and that there had been no complications.

While further details about the surgery were not released, as NPR noted, the hours-long gap between him being hospitalized and the surgery suggests the bleeding, which was between his skull and his brain, was not imminently grave.

Typical treatment involves draining the blood through a hole in the skull, though doctors will actually take out a larger portion of the skull if the injury is more severe, according to NPR.

From left: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter in 2018
John Amis/AP/Shutterstock

After the procedure, a longtime close friend told PEOPLE that President Carter was “doing fine.”

“He is doing fine and is probably only uncomfortable with the idea that he had to cancel his Sunday school appearance,” the friend said.

RELATED: ‘It’s Hard to Live Until You’re 95,’ Jimmy Carter Says — How Wife Rosalynn and His Faith Keep Him Going

President Carter has been a years-long fixture at Sunday services at his church, Maranatha Baptist, in Plains. Previous health issues, including a broken hip and surgery in May, have only temporarily stopped him from teaching on Sundays.

Later that week, Carter’s pastor at Maranatha also said he was “up and walking” after the surgery, according to USA Today.

Jimmy Carter in October
Habitat for Humanity International/

Carter fell twice in October: once requiring stitches (and receiving a nasty black eye) and another time fracturing his pelvis in what his office said at the time was a “minor injury.” He also fell earlier this year, in May, and needed surgery to fix a broken hip.

He survived a bout with cancer in 2015, though he found then that he was “completely at ease” with dying, he has said.

R. Wayne Harpster, who has been friends with Carter since 1979, when Carter first came to fly-fish on Harpster’s property in Pennsylvania, told PEOPLE after Carter’s hospitalization that “he’s a fighter and a loyal friend.”

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