Frenchwoman Sister André, dean of humanity, died at 118

At 118, she had been the oldest human being since April

Frenchwoman Sister André, dean of humanity, died at 118

At 118, she had been the oldest human being since April. The French sister André died in the night from Monday to Tuesday, at the age of 118, announced Tuesday January 17 to Agence France-Presse (AFP) the direction of the retirement home of Toulon where she lived.

“She died at 2 a.m. There is great sadness but she wanted it, it was her desire to join her beloved brother. For her, it's a release, "said David Tavella, communication officer of the Sainte-Catherine-Labouré accommodation establishment for dependent elderly people.

No official body assigns the title of dean or dean of humanity, but specialists agreed that Sister André was the oldest living person whose marital status had been verified. The Guinness Book of Records had expressed the same opinion since April 25, a few days after the death, at 119, of Japanese Kane Tanaka.

For several years, Sister André, born Lucile Randon on February 11, 1904 in Alès (Gard), did not hide a certain weariness. Wheelchair bound, blind, she wanted to "get out of this business". But "the good Lord does not hear me", she confided to AFP, who had met her at length in January 2022.

Jeanne Calment's record unequaled

She is, according to Laurent Toussaint, a specialist in extreme longevity in France, the fourth person to have lived the longest in the history of humanity, behind Kane Tanaka and an American and especially behind the Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died at 122. years in Arles in 1997, who remains the person who has lived the longest in the history of humanity and whose civil status has been verified.

According to Laurent Toussaint, who participates in the international database on longevity IDL (International Database on Longevity) in connection with the French Institute of Demographic Studies (INED), the new dean of the French would be a 112-year-old Vendée. Marie-Rose Tessier, born Bousseau on May 21, 1910, lives in a residential facility for dependent elderly people in Sables-d'Olonne, according to the local press.

We must nevertheless be "very careful", insisted Laurent Toussaint to AFP because it is possible that an even older person is not known or has not yet made himself known.