The world’s oldest confirmed living person has died in her sleep aged 118 years and 340 days.
Lucille Randon was a Roman Catholic nun who took the name Sister André in 1944. According to Guinness World Records, Randon was both the second-oldest French person and European person ever recorded, taking the title of world’s oldest living person after the death of previous record holder Kane Tanaka in 2022.
Randon reached the lofty status of a supercentenarian, meaning she lived over 110 years – a milestone less than one in 1,000 centenarians reach. According to one study of Italian residents aged 105 or older, chances of survival plateau around the age of 105, with 110-year-olds having the same projected life expectancy rate. However, it has been suggested that some supercentenarians are younger than they claim, with their seemingly older age attributed to dodgy record-keeping.
Randon also survived COVID-19 at the age of 116, telling reporters that “I wasn't scared, because I wasn't scared to die,” and that "[I] didn't even realise I had it."
Upon becoming the world’s oldest person, CBS news reports that she said "People say that work kills, for me work kept me alive, I kept working until I was 108."
In fact, a recent study in rural China suggested that she could have been onto something, establishing a link between early retirement and cognitive decline.
On the other hand, Sister André has also been quoted as saying: "Only the good Lord knows" when asked about how she managed to avoid death for so long.
“I went to visit her regularly and I appreciated her humanity, her spirituality but also her sense of humor and the relevance with which she felt our time,” Hubert Falco, Mayor of Toulon, wrote on Facebook. “She had a straight talk, a real spontaneity for a person born in 1904. She had evolved with the times, she was incredibly modern and told me frankly what she thought of this new century.”
"People should help each other and love each other instead of hating. If we shared all that, things would be a lot better," Randon said, according to CBS.