OTTAWA, Ill. (WGN-TV) — A 104-year-old Chicago woman who recently set out to break a world record as the oldest person to ever jump from a plane has died.
Dorothy Hoffner was found dead Monday morning by staff at the Brookdale Lake View senior living community after passing away in her sleep Sunday night, her close friend, Joe Conant, told the Associated Press.
Conant said he met Hoffner, whom he called Grandma at her request, several years ago while working as a caregiver for another resident at the senior living center. He said Hoffner had great energy and was mentally sharp.
“She was indefatigable. She just kept going,” he said Tuesday. “She was not someone who would take naps in the afternoon, or not show up for any function, dinner or anything else. She was always there, fully present. She kept going, always.”
On Oct. 1, Hoffner made a tandem skydive that could land her in the record books. She jumped out of a plane from 13,500 feet at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, located about 85 miles southwest of Chicago.
When asked how she felt about becoming a likely record-holder, Hoffner replied: “Like I’m old,” to a cheering crowd.
“Age is only a number, you know?” she added. It was her second dive as a centenarian, having previously jumped out of a plane at age 100.
Skydive Chicago and the United States Parachute Association issued a joint statement, saying they were “deeply saddened” by Hoffner’s passing.
“We are forever grateful that skydiving was a part of her exciting, well-lived life,” the statement said, in part. “Her legacy is even more remarkable because of the attention the world gave to her inspiring story.”
Conant said he was working through paperwork to ensure that Guinness World Records certifies Hoffner posthumously as the world’s oldest skydiver, but it might take some time. The current record was set in May 2022 by 103-year-old Linnéa Ingegärd Larsson of Sweden.
Hoffner would have turned 105 in December.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.