The woman, who first skydived when she was 100, jumped 13,500 feet from a plane with Skydive Chicago in Ottawa on October 1.
Dorothy Hoffner passed away before Guinness Records could certify her as the world’s oldest skydiver but she leaves behind an inspiring legacy. The 104-year-old gained international attention for her October 1 jump. The elderly inspiration jumped out of a plane from 13,500 feet at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, 85 miles southwest of Chicago. She died over a week later, likely in her sleep, Brookdale Senior Living said in a statement per NPR.
Dorothy Hoffner was a record breaker who inspired not only Chicago but the world with her spirit when she became the oldest person to ever skydive earlier this month.— Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) October 14, 2023
May her memory be a blessing. https://t.co/CombkJiufn
"The associates at Brookdale Lake View are deeply saddened by the passing of our resident, Dorothy Hoffner," the statement said. "We were thrilled to see her continue to live with passion and purpose, skydiving earlier this month at 104 and ultimately proving that age is just a number. She will be greatly missed by our entire community." Before Hoffner’s jump, the oldest parachutist was Sweden’s Rut Linnéa Ingegärd Larsson, according to the Guinness World Records, who earned the title in May 2022 at the age of 103. Guinness World Records was last reported to still be working to confirm if Hoffner broke the record for the oldest person to jump from a plane.
DOROTHY HOFFNER IS TRULY #ChicagoHistory ☑️— Chicago History ™️ (@Chicago_History) October 2, 2023
104 year old Dorothy Hoffner set the world record Sunday for the oldest woman to ever skydive.
Dorothy, who was born and raised in Chicago, was not a skydiving rookie.
She made her 1st skydive at Skydive Chicago when she was 100. WOW. pic.twitter.com/Cpi7GfWBLV
Hoffner made her first skydive years ago at age 100. After her second jump, Hoffner told a cheering crowd moments after touching the ground, “Age is just a number." Hoffner wasn’t initially fond of the media attention that she received but eventually didn't mind the spotlight. “She wasn’t doing it because of the world record,” her close friend, Joe Conant, told The Chicago Tribune. “She was doing it because she wanted to go skydiving."
While the news of her death shocked her close friends and family they are grateful for having known someone so inspiring. “It came as quite a shock,” Conant said. “She gave an incredible amount of her spirit and life to all of us, and it inspired all of us.”
Conant met Hoffner five years ago while working as a caregiver at Brookdale Senior Living. In 2019, she had told him that she had been dreaming of jumping from a plane to experience the thrill of it. “She enthusiastically said, ‘I want to go,’ and I thought she meant she just wanted to come and watch,” Conant shared. “I explained to her what it all entails, and she said, “Yeah, that sounds great. I want to try it.”
According to the Guardian, Conant called Grandma at her request and developed a close relationship with the senior. “She was indefatigable. She just kept going,” he recalled. “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.” He added, “She was a dear friend who was an inspiration."
Dorothy Hoffner, 104, dies one week after setting skydiving record: ‘She was just indefatigable’ https://t.co/D5niAsPzg7— Pioneer Press (@PioneerPress) October 10, 2023
Skydive Chicago and the United States Parachute Association celebrated Hoffner in their statement per AP News: "Skydiving is an activity that many of us safely tucked away in our bucket lists. But Dorothy reminds us that it’s never too late to take the thrill of a lifetime. We are forever grateful that skydiving was a part of her exciting, well-lived life," they added. "Her legacy is even more remarkable because of the attention the world gave to her inspiring story."