The world’s oldest known person, a French nun, dies at 118

PARIS (AP) — A French nun who was believed to be the world’s oldest person but was reportedly growing increasingly tired of the burdens of age, has died a few weeks short of her 119th birthday, the French minister said. Wednesday his nursing home in the south of France. Spokesman David Tavella said she died at 2 am Tuesday at the Sainte-Catherine-Laboure nursing home in the southern port city of Toulon.

Lucile Randon, known as Sister André, was born in the city of Ales, in the south of France, on February 11, 1904 and lived through the two world wars. As a child, she was amazed by her first contact with electricity at school and, more recently, she survived COVID without even realizing she was infected.

The Gerontology Research Group, which validates details of people believed to be 110 years or older, listed her as the oldest known person in the world after the death of Japanese Kane Tanaka, aged 119, last year. past. The oldest known living person in the world listed by the Gerontological Research Group is now 115-year-old Maria Branyas Morera, born in the United States, living in Spain. Jeanne Calment, a French woman who also lived in the south of France, died in 1997 at the age of 122 and is said to hold the record for longevity.

Sister André tested positive for coronavirus in January 2021, shortly before her 117th birthday, but she had so few symptoms that she didn’t even realize she was infected. Her survival made headlines both in France and beyond.

When asked about his exceptional longevity after surviving two world wars, he told French media in April that “working… makes you live. I worked until I was 108 years old.” But local newspaper Midi Libre reported that Sister Andre said in 2020, after recovering from COVID, that “God has forgotten me.”

The newspaper reported that during a visit with her in May, she was gripped by the diseases of age, with loss of sight, trouble of hearing and a face contorted with pain in her joints. In better days, Sister Andre was known to enjoy a glass of wine and some chocolate every day. She toasted her 117th birthday in 2021 with champagne, red wine and port.

“It made me very, very, very, very happy,” he said in a phone interview at the time with The Associated Press. “Because I met everyone I love and I thank heaven for giving them to me. I thank God for the trouble they went to.”

Sister Andre, who reportedly took her religious name after a favorite brother, recalled the high points of her long life in the May interview with Midi Libre, saying: “The most beautiful day of my life was when the Armistice ( end of World War I) was declared”, and the population of Ales gathered in the main square to sing the French national anthem. Electricity, which she first encountered turning on a light in a classroom as a child, was a new word she had to learn and she, she said, “a joy.”

In a statement, French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, saluted “this altruistic personality whom the French consider a reference, a source of pride and attachment.” The statement noted that Sister Andre lived through 18 different French presidents.


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