World’s Oldest Person Sister André Dies Weeks Before 119th Birthday

A French nun who has held the title of world’s oldest person since April last year has died at the age of 118.

Sister André’s retirement home in France provided the notice of death to Reuters.

AFP, who reached the facility’s spokesman David Tavella, reported she died in her sleep at a nursing home in Toulon.

Tavella posted confirmation of the news on Twitter, revealing she died just a few weeks short of her 119th birthday.

“There is great sadness but … it was her desire to join her beloved brother. For her, it’s a liberation,” Tavella, of the Sainte-Catherine-Laboure nursing home, told AFP.

She was born Lucile Randon on Feb. 11, 1904, outlasting two World Wars, 10 Popes and two pandemics–the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic and the latest coronavirus pandemic, which she caught last year.

“Defying the odds, she shook off the virus after three weeks with no symptoms or side effects other than a little tiredness, just in time to celebrate her 117th birthday,” Guinness World Records said in a tribute.

She adopted the name of Sister André after joining the Catholic charitable order in 1944.

Sister André took the title of the world’s oldest person in April 2022 when Kane Tanaka died in Japan aged 119.

On Tuesday, Guinness World Records said it was “saddened to learn of the passing” of the world’s oldest person, citing she was is the second-oldest French person and the second-oldest European person ever recorded. She also held the record for the oldest nun living.

“How incredible that we shared the same air as someone who was born just a couple of months after the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight—and a few months before the New York subway system opened, Craig Glenday, editor in chief at Guinness World Records, said in a statement. “We’d only had two Olympics Games by the time she was born in 1904, and only one Tour de France.”

Guinness World Records said it works with a lead consultant for gerontology to determine the world’s oldest people. The next in line has not yet been announced.

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