'She was very much loved': Belgium's oldest person dies at 111

'She was very much loved': Belgium's oldest person dies at 111
Magda Janssens. Credit: X / l'Histoire du jour

Belgium's oldest person passed away peacefully in her sleep on Monday evening at the age of 111.

Magda Janssens, who was also the oldest person in the Benelux area, had been a resident at the Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van Troost care home in Zandhoven, Antwerp province, for more than twenty years.

"She had a particularly nice day with her family on Monday," the care home's Managing Director Charlotte Leemans told the Gazet van Antwerpen. "During her daily visit, Magda's daughter Francine felt that it could be the last time."

"The family is of course sad, but greatly appreciates the care and the beautiful time that she was able to experience at Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van Troost. For all of us, it is not only a personal loss – Magda was very much loved – but also the loss of an icon."

'Love is always possible'

Magda was born in 1912 and grew up in Deurne, a municipality of Antwerp. An avid concertgoer and lover of classical music, she rarely drank alcohol but also reportedly never dieted.

According to her daughter Francine, Magda's failing eyesight towards the end of her life meant that was becoming increasingly "bored".

"She can't watch TV anymore," Francine said in November last year. "The only thing she looks forward to are family visits. She can still read the clock and knows that I come every day around 16:00. Sometimes we just look at each other without saying anything. She enjoys that too."

Related News

After her mother's death, Francine told Het Laatste Nieuws that Magda, who also went by the name "Madeleine", "still recognised me and was conscious" at their final meeting on Monday.

Despite being survived by two children, three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, Magda suffered significant personal losses throughout her long life. Her first husband, whom she married in the 1930s, died after just six months from kidney disease. Her second husband, Paul, died in 2001 at the age of 96.

What most affected Magda, however, was the loss of her own children, two of whom died in infancy: one from leukemia and one in a car accident.

"Falling in love again is always possible," she once told Het Laatste Nieuws. "A child cannot be replaced."

Copyright © 2024 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.