World’s oldest person, French nun Lucile Randon, dies at 118

TOULON, France — The oldest known person in the world, a 118-year-old French nun, died Tuesday in France.

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A spokesman for Lucile Randon, known as Sister André, told CNN that the nun died at 2 a.m. Tuesday near Toulon. “There is great sadness, but she wanted it to happen, it was her desire to join her beloved brother,” David Tavella, the nun’s spokesman, told CNN. “For her, it is freedom.”

Born Lucile Randon on February 11, 1904, she took the name of Sister André in 1944. Guinness World Records confirmed her as the oldest living person in April 2022 following the death of Kane Tanaka. Randon is the second-oldest French person and second-oldest European person ever recorded.

Born a Protestant in Alès, France, she converted to Catholicism at 19, according to the Catholic News Agency. She worked as a young adult at a French hospital, serving young children and the elderly, before becoming a nun at age 40. The name Sister André was taken to honor her deceased brother.

In 1904, the year Randon was born, New York opened its first subway and the Tour de France had only been staged once, according to France24.

Sister André was also named the oldest COVID-19 survivor in 2021, after testing positive for the virus on January 16, 2021. She recovered after three weeks, in time to celebrate her 117th birthday.

She spent her days living in a nursing home, where she prayed and visited with residents and hospice workers, France 24 reported.

In 2020, Randon was asked by a French radio station her secret to longevity, The Guardian reported. “I’ve no idea what the secret is. Only God can answer that question.”