World’s oldest person dies a month before his 119th birthday

Sister André is said to have passed away in her sleep at her nursing home in Toulon, France. A spokesperson for the nursing home shared the news of her death the next day. The sister died less than a month shy of her 119th birthday and held the Guinness World Record for being both the oldest living person and the oldest living nun on the planet.

Sister André was born on February 11, 1904, in France, as Lucile Randon. She took the name Sister André in 1944 and spent most of her life in religious service as a Roman Catholic nun. Sister André spent almost 28 years working in a hospital with orphans and the elderly before becoming a nun. During World War II, she was a teacher and cared for children in conflict areas.

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She became the oldest living person last year following the death of Kane Tanaka of Japan, who passed away aged 119. 164 days in 1997. Research in gerontology suggests that the oldest living person is now Maria Branyas Morera of Spain, aged 115. She held the record for the oldest survivor of COVID-19, for which she tested positive a few weeks before her 117th birthday in 2021. She was able to recover from the virus in about three weeks. Interestingly, she is also a survivor of the deadly 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that killed millions.

Since the 1950s, the number of people aged over 100 has increased substantially. According to UN estimates, Norway had the best health in 1950, with a life expectancy of 72.3 years. With the growth of the world’s population and life expectancy, centenarians have increased substantially in the 21st century. Statistics show that in 2000 there were almost 170,000 centenarians, a number that is expected to increase to over 20 million by 2100. As global life expectancy has increased, the total number of people aged over 100 in 2022 will be 633,000.

Research suggests that gains in longevity are due initially to reductions in child mortality accompanied by better sanitation, improvements in public health and significant advances in overcoming childhood illnesses such as smallpox, polio and measles. Furthermore, better living standards and nutrition proved to be critical factors for longer life expectancy in the 20th century. Likewise, recent developments in healthcare facilities for the elderly, such as medical advances against heart disease, cancer and other adult illnesses, play an important role. The number of centenarians worldwide is predicted to increase significantly in the coming decades.

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However, studies show that increases in life expectancy have not been consistent across genders across the world. On average, women live 5.4 years longer than men, and the difference is even greater in certain parts of the world. For example, in South America, the average life expectancy of women is seven years longer than that of men. According to 2021 statistics, the global average life expectancy of men is 68 years compared to 74 years for women.

World’s oldest person dies a month before his 119th birthday

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