The world’s oldest known person, French nun Lucile Randon, has died aged 118, a spokesman has said.
Randon, known as Sister Andrée, was born in southern France on 11 February 1904, when the first world war was still a decade away.
She died in her sleep at her nursing home in Toulon, spokesman David Tavella said on Tuesday.
“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-Labouré nursing home, told AFP.
Randon was born in the year New York opened its first subway and when the Tour de France had only been staged once.
She worked as a governor and tutor before entering a convent in 1944, aged 40. She had been in nursing homes since 1979 and in the Toulon home since 2009.
In 2021, she survived a bout of Covid-19 after the virus swept through the nursing home where she lived, killing 10 other residents.
At the time, she told Var-Matin newspaper: “I didn’t even realise I had it.”
Tavella told the newspaper that the nun had shown no fear of the virus.
“She didn’t ask me about her health but about her routine. She wanted to know for example if the meal and bed times were going to change. She showed no fear of the illness, in fact she was more worried about the other residents,” Tavella said.
Asked if she was scared to have Covid, the nun told France’s BFM television: “No, I wasn’t scared because I wasn’t scared to die … I’m happy to be with you, but I would wish to be somewhere else – join my big brother and my grandfather and my grandmother.”
In 2020, Randon told French radio she had no idea how she had lived so long. “I’ve no idea what the secret is. Only God can answer that question,” she said. “I’ve had plenty of unhappiness in life and during the 1914-1918 war when I was a child, I suffered like everyone else.”