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Lucile Randon, the oldest person in the world, dies at 118 | Obituary

Randon, who became a nun in 1944, said hard work and concern for others were the main reasons for her longevity.

The oldest in the world, the French nun Lucile Randon, died at the age of 118.

Randon, who took the name Sister André when she became a nun in 1944, died in her sleep Tuesday at the retirement home where she lived.

“There is great sadness but… it was her desire to join her beloved brother. For her, it is a release,” spokesman David Tavella, from the house, told AFP. Sainte-Catherine-Laboure rest stop in Toulon.

Randon was born on February 11, 1904, and was the oldest living person in the world according to the Gerontology Research Group (GRG) World Supercentenarian Rankings list.

Long recognized as the oldest person in Europe, she became the oldest in the world after Japan’s Kane Tanaka died aged 119 last year. Guinness World Records officially recognized her status in April 2022.

Randon was born the year New York City opened its first subway, and World War I was still a decade away.

She grew up in a Protestant family as the only girl among three brothers, living in the southern town of Alès, France.

One of her fondest memories is the return of two of her brothers at the end of the war in 1918, she told AFP in an interview on the occasion of her 116th birthday.

“It was rare, in families, there were generally two dead rather than two alive. They both came back,” she said.

Randon worked as a governess in Paris – a time she once called the happiest time of her life – for children from wealthy families.

She became a Catholic and was baptized at the age of 26.

Driven by the desire “to go further”, she joined the order of nuns of the Daughters of Charity at the age of 41.

Sister André was then assigned to a hospital in Vichy, France, where she worked for 31 years.

Later in her life she moved to Toulon along the Mediterranean coast.

Her days at the nursing home were punctuated by prayer, meals and visits from residents and hospice workers.

She also received a steady stream of letters, almost all of which she responded to.

In 2021, she survived an episode of COVID-19.

“Work kept me alive”

Randon told reporters last year that her hard work and concern for others had kept her in shape.

“People say work kills, for me work kept me alive, I kept working until I was 108,” she told reporters last April in the house tea room.

Although she was blind and needed a wheelchair, she cared for other elderly people much younger than her.

“People should help each other and love each other instead of hating each other. If we shared all this things would be much better,” she said during the same meeting with reporters.

France’s new oldest person is now likely to be 112-year-old Marie-Rose Tessier, a Vendée, longevity expert Laurent Toussaint told AFP.

But Toussaint warned there was always the possibility that someone even older has yet to come forward.

Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the age of 122 in Arles, southern France, holds the record for the highest confirmed age attained by a human being.

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