A nun who held the record for being the oldest person in the world died today – aged 114.
Eugenie Blanchard, who was born in February 1896, passed away in the hospital where she spent the last 30 years of her life on the Caribbean island of Saint Barthelemy.
The nun, who was born on the same island, spent most of her life living on the nearby Dutch Antilles island of Curacao in a convent.
Cousin Armelle Blanchard said that although Miss Blanchard could no longer talk, she had seemed to be in relatively good health.
‘When you talked to her, she would smile,’ she said. ‘We don’t know if she understood us.’
Miss Blanchard worked hard from an early age, her cousin recalled.
‘At that time, life was very hard in St. Barts. She tended the garden and took care of the animals.’
After returning from Curacao, she lived in a quaint house in the Merlette district of Saint Barthelemy with a cat as her only companion in the 1950s.
She was the last survivor of a family of 13 brothers and sisters and apparently earned the nickname ‘Sweets’ because of how she treated others.
According to the U.S.-based Gerontology Research Group, which maintains a registry of the world’s oldest people, Blanchard became the oldest person alive on May 2 this year.
On that day, Kama Chinen of Japan died at age 114, only days before she would have turned 115.
Blanchard’s death makes Eunice Sanborn of the United States, born on July 20, 1896 in Louisiana, the oldest person alive, according to the same registry.