France’s much-loved ‘oldest person’ dies aged 114

Rondello was said to have been happy and smiling until the end (20 Minutes / YouTube)

Honorine Rondello, who was considered to be ‘France’s oldest woman' and 'oldest person overall' has died this week at the age of 114.

Born on July 28 1903, Rondello was well-known for being the country’s ‘oldest woman’, although she was found to be the second-oldest for a while, after the media’s recent discovery of a woman named Tava Colo, who was actually seven months’ older, born on December 22 1902.

Originally from Brittany but a long-time resident of the Côte d'Azur, Rondello was much-loved among French people, and admired for her dignity and humour. She turned 114 in July this year

She appeared on TV interviews fairly frequently, and always seemed to enjoy and be surprised by the media interest in her.

When she officially became the country’s oldest woman in September last year, rather than proud, Rondello was said to be sad, as it had meant that “another woman had just died”, said Isabelle Quintin, head of Rondello’s nursing home (the Trois Tilleuls in Saint-Maximin (Var)), speaking to French news source 20 Minutes.

Happy at her nursing home, Rondello spent much of her time in her own room reading books and keeping up with the news.

“I move around a bit in the corridors,  but I don't linger, I eat and then go back to my room,” Rondello said in her TV interview with 20 Minutes last year. “I cannot really talk much with the other care home residents, because quite a few of them have lost their marbles.”

She is said to have died peacefully, without suffering, surrounded by her family.

“She had ‘decided to die’, because she had had enough,” added Quintin. “But she stayed smiling until the end, and not long before had just finished reading a big book.”

Rondello’s funeral will take place at 10am on Tuesday October 24, in the Basilica of Saint-Maximin, in the Var (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur).

The oldest-ever person in the world (as verified by official census documents) was a Frenchwoman - Jeanne Calment from Arles, who was born in 1875 and died in 1997, at the age of 122, outliving her own grandson. 

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