Guinness World Records is saddened to learn of the passing of Sister André (France, b. 11 February 1904 as Lucile Randon) at the age of 118.
She was confirmed as both the oldest person living (female) and overall oldest person living back in April 2022 following the passing of Kane Tanaka (Japan).
Lucile, who took the name of Sister André in 1944, is the second-oldest French person and the second-oldest European person ever recorded.
Sister André lived a full life and in her younger years worked as a teacher, a governess and looked after children during World War II.
After the war, she spent 28 years working with orphans and elderly people at a hospital in Vichy, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region before becoming a Catholic nun.
Spending most of her life dedicated to religious service, Sister André also held the record for the oldest nun living.
In 2019, she was made an honorary citizen of the city in which she resides - Toulon in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region - and received a letter from Pope Francis.
More recently, Sister André received yet another startling record for the oldest COVID-19 survivor.
After already living through the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918, she tested positive for coronavirus on 16 January 2021, and was quickly isolated in her retirement home to stop the virus spreading.
Defying the odds, she shook off the virus after three weeks with no symptoms or side effects other than a little tiredness, in time to celebrate her 117th birthday.
Lucile was just over three years away from becoming the oldest person ever, a record held by Jeanne Louise Calment (France).
Jeanne, who was born on 21 February 1875, lived to be 122 years 164 days old.
"How incredible that we shared the same air as someone who was born just a couple of months after the Wright Brothers' first powered flight - and a few months before the New York subway system opened. We'd only had two Olympics Games by the time she was born in 1904, and only one Tour de France. Teddy Roosevelt was US President and Alfred Balfour was British Prime Minister! In her birth home of France, Cezanne was still painting, Matisse hadn't yet had a solo exhibition, and Jean-Paul Sartre hadn't even been born! It's difficult to fathom that someone born before the patenting of plastic, zips or even bras was alive well into the 21st century, and robust enough to beat COVID-19. Ms Randon clearly had a bright outlook on life, claiming that her aim was to outlive fellow Frenchwoman Jean Calment, which she tackled by enjoying a daily diet of wine and chocolate. While she may not have reached quite so advanced an age as her 122-year-old counterpart, she nevertheless lived a remarkably long and varied life. It's been an honour to record her story in the pages of the Guinness World Records book, and she will live on in history as the fourth oldest person ever authenticated.” - Craig Glenday, Editor-in-Chief
Guinness World Records sends our condolences to all of Lucile's friends and family at this time.
How do we validate the oldest people?
Guinness World Records works with lead consultant for gerontology, Robert D Young (USA), in the study of aging. Young has been the Director of the Supercentenarian Research Database Division for the Gerontology Research Group since 2015.