Hours after death of grandson, Jimmy Carter reveals the news to his church

Updated 11:14 PM EST, Sun December 20, 2015
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Story highlights

Jeremy Carter's heart stopped, according to Maranatha Baptist Church Reverend Jeremy Shoulta

Former President Jimmy Carter broke the news to his church and taught Sunday School but seemed "shaken," Shoulta said

(CNN) —  

Just hours after his 28-year-old grandson died, a shaken former President Jimmy Carter broke the news to his Plains, Georgia, church and then taught Sunday School according to the church’s minister.

The grandson, Jeremy Carter, had not been feeling well and laid down to take a nap Saturday, Maranatha Baptist Church Rev. Jeremy Shoulta told CNN.

The younger Carter’s heart stopped, the minister said, and the family tried CPR and rushed him to a hospital.

“They were trying to keep his heart going and eventually, later in the night or the wee hours of (Sunday) morning, his heart stopped,” Shoulta said.

Despite the tragic loss, the former President taught Sunday school as he has for many years, Shoulta said.

“(President Carter) was shaken,” he said. “He was obviously sad although he was able to teach and he was able to present the lesson as well as he always has. But it was apparent to everyone there that this was weighing on him very heavily.”

During his sermon, Shoulta urged congregants to pray for the Carter family.

“Our church plays an important role in his (President Carter’s) life and he feels committed to his responsibilities here at the church,” Shoulta said. “His presence at the church today gave him an opportunity to fulfill his obligations to the church and also to feel the loving presence of his faith community.”

In late summer Jimmy Carter announced that he was diagnosed with brain cancer and said he was going to scale back his humanitarian work and other demands. In August, Carter said that his fate was “in the hands of God, whom I worship.”

Recently the former President said that treatments and radiation had worked and that he was cancer-free.