Stitches, black eye can't keep former President Jimmy Carter from Habitat build

PLAINS, Ga. — Former President Jimmy Carter suffered a fall at his home in Plains Sunday, but it didn't keep him from attending the kick-off to a Habitat for Humanity project Sunday night in Nashville.

He hit his head and required stitches, officials said.

By Sunday evening, Carter was on stage at the Ryman Auditorium with his wife Rosalynn to say his No. 1 priority was to volunteer.

"I had a No. 1 priority, and that was to come to Nashville to build houses," Carter told the crowd.


The Carter Center issued a statement on his behalf on Sunday, saying:

"He said he feels fine and wanted everyone to know that he and Mrs. Carter are eager to be at Habitat for Humanity's Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project in Nashville, Tennessee, Oct. 6 -11, starting with the opening ceremony this evening."

Carter explained the bandage and swollen eye to the crowd Sunday night.

"First of all, I want to explain my black eye," he said at the event, according to ABC News. "I got up this morning at home in Plains, getting ready to go to church, 'cause right after that we had a family reunion, and then we were coming to Nashville. And I fell down and hit my forehead on a sharp edge, and had to go to the hospital."

"They put 14 stitches in my forehead and my eye is black as you noticed," he added.

The Carters are set to help build 21 homes in the Habitat-developed neighborhood of Park Preserve in North Nashville over the course of the week. It will be the 36th consecutive year the Carters have joined a Habitat build.

The couple has helped build more than 4,300 homes in 14 countries since 1984.

The Georgia native celebrated his 95th birthday on Tuesday.

In May of this year, Carter fell and broke his hip on his way to go turkey hunting. He was also diagnosed with metastatic liver cancer in 2015 that eventually spread to his brain. Six months ago, he announced he no longer needed cancer treatment.

ABC News contrituted to this report.