Sister André, the world's oldest known person, died Tuesday at age 118 and 340 days. Less than a month away from her 119th birthday, she held the record for both oldest living person and oldest living nun, according to Guinness World Records.
She was born in France on Feb. 11, 1904, as Lucile Randon and took the name Sister André in 1944. She spent most of her life in religious service as a Roman Catholic nun.
Sister André became the oldest living person last year when the previous oldest person, Kane Tanaka of Japan, died at 119 years old in April 2022. According to the Gerontology Research Group, the oldest living person is now Maria Branyas Morera of Spain at 115 years and 320 days, as of Wednesday.
Sister André also holds the record for the oldest COVID-19 survivor, which she tested positive for a few weeks before her 117th birthday in 2021. She recovered from the virus in about three weeks. She also lived through the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.
As a young person, Sister André was a teacher and looked after children during World War II. She then spent 28 years working at a hospital with orphans and elderly people before becoming a nun.
In 2019, Sister André became an honorary citizen of Toulon, France, and received a personal letter and blessed rosary from Pope Francis.
Sister André was about three years away from setting yet another record as the oldest person ever. That record is held by Jeanne Louise Calment, also of France, who lived to be 122 years and 164 days old and died in 1997, according to Guinness World Records.
Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
Gain a Better Understanding of Today
MPR News is not just a listener supported source of information, it's a resource where listeners are supported. We take you beyond the headlines to the world we share in Minnesota. Become a sustainer today to fuel MPR News all year long.