Ivy Bean, the Internet-famous centenarian heralded as world's oldest Twitter user, passed away last night at her retirement home in Branford England. She was 104.
"ivy passed away peacefully at 12.08 this morning," Pat Wright, manager of the care home wrote via Bean's Twitter account, @IvyBean104. "I'm sorry it took me so long to tell you but it was a very difficult thing to do"
Charming netizens with her upbeat posts about life in the retirement home, Bean moved to Twitter from Facebook in 2008, soon after she reached Facebook's 5,000-friend limit. Fitting right in with the Twitterverse, Bean was typically casual on caps and punctuation.
"I was on facebook before twitter but i find this easier, i have 25'000 friend requests but have reached my limit of friends," she responded to one follower in March 2009. Bean linked the two social networks so her updates on Twitter also posted to her Facebook account.
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"Hello everyone, are you enjoying the sunshine today?" was the cheerful type of tweet Bean often posted at the start of her Twitter day. One or two posts would follow throughout. Bean might interact with one or two of her more than 57,000 followers — wishing one well or thanking another for his or her kind words. And like any proud great-grandparent, she'd occasionally post a picture of her family.
It was Bean's oft-described "cheeky" tweets that were most delightful – winning her the following of U.S. stars such as Ashton Kutcher and UK celebrities, including one of her favorite pop stars, Peter Andre, whom she eventually met.
Tweeting about how the retirement home staff urged residents to stay hydrated in the hot weather, "if the staff make me drink any more i will be floating," she posted in May. It was soon followed with a report about how residents were being served juice, but "some have had a drink of lager while sat in the garden."
Bean, a former mill worker, was one of eight children, reports the UK Daily Mirror. She was born in 1905, seven years before widespread telephone service, when the telegram was the speediest way to communicate.
Bean married Harold Gibson Bean in 1945, and gave birth to her only child, Sandra in 1947. According to the Daily Mirror, the couple worked "in service" to Lord and Lady Guiness at Greens Norton Hall in Northampton until they both retired when Ivy was 73 and Harold, 75. Her husband died soon after, and Ivy never remarried.
The last tweet written by Bean appeared on July 6, when she posted "going to have my lunch now will be back later." It's followed on July 12 by a post from care manager Wright, letting Bean's followers know that she had taken ill. Regular posts on Bean's failing condition continued over the weeks until last night, when Wright let Bean's loyal following know that she had passed. There is no word yet on what will become of Bean's Twitter account.
Among the many mourners noting Bean's death on Twitter, Sarah Brown, wife of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, tweeted today: "Sad to hear the news of Ivy Bean's passing. A great spirit and sense of humor; highly respected senior ambassador for Twitter."
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