World's oldest person dies at 114 in St Barthelemy

Thu Nov 4, 2010 5:40pm EDT
 
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PARIS (Reuters Life!) - A French nun who held the Guinness Book of Records title for world's oldest person has died on the Caribbean island of Saint Barthelemy at the age of 114, the French government said on Thursday.

Born on February 16, 1896 on Saint Barthelemy, Eugenie Blanchard died at around 3:00 am (0700 GMT) on Thursday morning in a hospital on the tiny island, whose pristine beaches are a draw for wealthy celebrities.

Blanchard lived for many years in the nearby Dutch Antilles island of Curacao, but spent the last 30 years of her life in the Saint Barthelemy hospital.

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, when 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.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; Writing by Leigh Thomas)

 
<p>Eugenie Blanchard sits in the Hospital Bruyn, in Gustavia on the Caribbean Island of Saint-Barthelemys February 19, 2010. REUTERS/Pere Pinya</p>