News World’s oldest known person, a French nun, dies at 118

Paris– A French nun thought to be the world’s oldest living person but reportedly growing weary with the burden of age has died just weeks before her 119th birthday, a nursing home in southern France said on Wednesday.

Lucille Langdon, known as Sister André, was born on February 11, 1904 in the town of Ales in the south of France and experienced two world wars. As a little girl, she marveled at being exposed to a light for the first time at school, and recently, she survived COVID-19 without even realizing she was infected.

She died at the Sainte-Catherine-Laboure nursing home in the southern port city of Toulon at 2 a.m. on Tuesday, spokesman David Tavella said.

The gerontology research team verified details of people thought to be 110 or older, ranking her as the world’s oldest known person after Japan’s Kane Tanaka died last year at 119.

The oldest known person in the world listed by the Gerontology Research Group is now Maria Branyas Morera, born in the United States and now living in Spain, at 115 years old.

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

Last April, when asked about her extraordinary longevity between the two world wars, she told French media that “work… keeps you alive. I worked until I was 108.”

But local newspaper Midi Libre reported that after recovering from COVID-19 in 2020, Sister Andrea said, “God forgot me.”

Her health was declining, and the paper reported that during a visit last May, she suffered from frail old age, loss of vision, poor hearing and a distorted face from joint pain.

On the brighter days, Sister Andrea is known to enjoy a glass of wine and some chocolates every day, and celebrated her 117th birthday in 2021 with champagne, red wine and port.

“It makes me very, very, very, very happy,” she said in a phone interview with The Associated Press at the time. “Because I’ve met all the people I love and I thank God for giving them to me. I thank God for the trouble they’re in.”

Sister Andrea, who reportedly took her religious name in honor of a favorite brother, recalled the high point of her longevity in an interview with Midi Libre in May, saying: “The best day of my life It was the armistice (end of the world war) I) that was declared”, residents of Ales gathered in the main square to sing the French national anthem.

Electricity, which she first encountered as a child turning on the lights in her classroom, was a new word for her and, she said, it was “a joy.”

Jeanne Calment, a French woman who also lived in the south of France, died in 1997 at the age of 122, said to be the oldest on record.

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