World's oldest person dies at 114: officials

4th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

The world's oldest person, a nun named Eugenie Blanchard, died on Thursday aged 114 in the French West Indies, officials said.

Blanchard died in hospital on Saint-Barthelemy, an island some 250 kilometres (150 miles) north of Guadeloupe, around 3:00 am (0700 GMT), local officials said.

She was born on Saint-Barthelemy, a French overseas territory, on February 16, 1896 and after becoming a Catholic nun left to pursue her vocation in the then-bustling Dutch West Indies colony of Curacao.

Her great-nephew Daniel Blanchard, a former mayor of Saint-Barthelemy, told AFP he believed she lived so long because "she had decided to give her virginity to God".

She returned to Saint-Barthelemy after retiring and had lived there for the past 30 years.

There she earned the name "Douchy", meaning "sweets" in the Dutch West Indies dialect, since she would offer "douchy" to local children to entice them to attend religious readings, her great-nephew said.

Eugenie Blanchard became the world's oldest person on May 4 after the death of Kama Chinen of Japan who passed away days before her 115th birthday.

© 2010 AFP

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