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France's oldest woman dies

Shock for family as Marie-Thérèse Bardet had been on form celebrating 114th birthday the previous week

EUROPE and France's oldest woman, Marie-Thérèse Bardet, has died just days after celebrating her 114th birthday.

Despite her age, she was born on June 2, 1898, her death in her retirement home in Pontchâteau (Loire-Atlantique) came as a shock to her family as she had been in such fine form the week before at her birthday celebration.

At the party she had blown out candles on the cake and been animated to see photographs of her great, great grand-children.

She is to be buried tomorrow in Saint-Nazaire.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has sent the family his "sincere condolences".

Mme Bardet, who was widowed in 1953 at the age of 55, is survived by her two children, seven grand-children, 15 great grand-children and six great, great grand-children.

She became the doyenne des Français on January 1 this year after the death of Marcelle Narbonne, who was born on March 25, 1898.

The new doyenne is thought to be Vaucluse resident Paule Bronzini, who was born on July 7, 1900. She lives in a retirement home in Robion.

The oldest woman in the world is 115-year-old American Besse Cooper, who was born on August 26, 1896.

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