Dorothy Hoffner, 104, dies one week after setting skydiving record: ‘She was just indefatigable’

The incredible feat gave Hoffner the perfect opportunity for one of her last pranks.

Dorothy Hoffner dreamed she was in free fall in the days leading up to her attempt to break the world record for the oldest skydiver ever. She stated that the sensation woke her up.

The 104-year-old finally touched down a week after setting the record. Her close friend Joe Conant told the Tribune that she died peacefully in her sleep on Monday.

He described the death of a dear friend he called “grandma” as “unexpected.”

“She was simply unstoppable.” “She just kept going,” said Conant.

He remembered Hoffner, a lifelong Chicagoan, for her bright personality and eagerness to meet new people. He described her as witty and sharp in her old age.

Last week, the world was introduced to her unbreakable spirit. The news of her record skydive spread quickly, along with photos and video of her jump. She smiled as she fell, her determined eyes protected by goggles.

When Hoffner landed from her 13,500-foot fall, she jumped to her feet, grabbed her walker, and shuffled over to the crowd that had just applauded her historic feat.

“You know, age is just a number, you know?” she told reporters.

The incredible feat provided Hoffner with the ideal opportunity for one of her final pranks. Her family came to see her at her Brookdale Lake View senior living community the day after she jumped. She hadn’t told them about her skydiving experience.

Hoffner handed them a copy of the Chicago Tribune when they arrived. In a large photo, she was seen parachuting to Earth on the front page.

“Chicagoan sets record as oldest skydiver,” read the headline.

According to Conant, her family exclaimed, “Dorothy, you never told us you went skydiving!”

“Well, you never asked!” Hoffner responded.

Hoffner’s story was told to millions of people. The centenarian became a viral sensation, the subject of a New York Times article, the target of a late-night TV joke, and the darling of cable morning shows. She was featured in a Chinese news outlet’s story and on a Mexican television broadcast.

Hoffner was initially irritated by the media attention. She told the Tribune that she planned to bring a cold steak to Skydive Chicago a few weeks before her jump. She intended to sock Conant in the eye for spreading word of the record attempt, and she joked that he’d need to ice it.

“She wasn’t doing it for the world record.” “She was doing it to go skydiving,” Conant explained.

Despite the fact that Hoffner had no idea how far her inspiring story had spread — after all, she didn’t have a smartphone — she relished her newfound fame, according to Conant. Each interview became a chance for the people lover to converse and make new friends.

She was getting about five interview requests per day. Conant said a German magazine had flown a reporter and photographer to Chicago and planned to have dinner with her Monday.

He claimed that the 104-year-old had not aged at all in the last decade. She never slept or changed plans.

“It came as quite a shock,” he said of her death. “She gave an incredible amount of her spirit and life to all of us, and it inspired all of us.”

Conant had expected her to live on. He’d hoped they’d skydive again, he admitted Tuesday morning.

When asked what she planned to do next after her jump, Hoffner expressed a desire to ride in a hot-air balloon. She desired to ascend.

Funeral arrangements are expected to be finalized in early November, according to Conant.

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