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18th Jan 2023

Sister André, world’s oldest person dies at the age of 118

She was born 10 years before World War One, and survived Covid-19

The oldest known person in the world, French nun Sister André, has died at the age of 118.

Sister André, whose real name is Lucile Randon, died in her sleep in Toulon, France, according to David Tavella from the Sainte-Catherine Laboure nursing home.

“There is great sadness, but…it was her desire to join her beloved brother,” Tavella told AFP. “For her, it’s a liberation.”

Sister André was born in southern France on 11 February 1904, and was officially recognised as the oldest living person by Guinness World Records last year, after the death of 119-year-old Kane Tanaka of Japan.

In a statement, the record-keeping organisation said it was “saddened” to hear of her passing.

Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief for Guinness World Records, said: “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

Before she became a Catholic nun, Sister André looked after children during World War II and then spent 28 years caring for orphans and elderly people at a hospital.

She was the oldest nun to ever live, according to Guinness.

When she turned 118 in 2022, the nun received a handwritten birthday note from French President Emmanuel Macron.

Macron was the 18th French president of her lifetime, whilst she also saw 10 different Popes preside over the Catholic Church.

In 2021, she survived Covid-19 after the virus swept through the nursing home she lived at.

Tavella said she had shown “no fear of the illness.”

When asked by French radio in 2020 how she had managed to live so long, she said: “I’ve no idea what the secret is. Only God can answer that question.

“I’ve had plenty of unhappiness in life and during the 1914-1918 war when I was a child, I suffered like everyone else.”