Last Titanic survivor dies at age 97

June 1st, 2009 - 5:19 am ICT by IANS  

London, June 1 (DPA) The last survivor of the fabled sinking of the Titanic died Sunday at age 97.
Friends of Millvina Dean said she had died in a nursing home in the south of England.

Dean was only two months old when the luxury ship hit an iceberg on its 1912 maiden voyage from Southampton on its way to New York, sending about 1,500 passengers to a frigid, watery death.

The elderly woman had been in a private nursing home in Ashurst, England, after breaking her hip more than two years ago.

Millvina Dean’s family was among the third-class passengers on the Titanic, headed to what they hoped would be a new life in the US. Her father, Bertram, then 27, had hoped to open a tobacco store.

While Bertram died in the sinking, Millvina, her brother and her mother survived in a lifeboat that brought them to safety.

Shortly before Dean’s death, in early May, the Hollywood stars who reawakened fascination with the sinking in the film Titanic - Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio - came to the financial rescue of the last survivor after she started auctioning mementos to finance her nursing home fees.

Late in 2008, Dean put up for sale a suitcase full of clothes given to her family by the people of New York when they arrived in America after their rescue, and rare prints of the Titanic signed by the artists. Also on sale were the compensation letters sent to her mother by the Titanic Relief Fund.

“I am selling it all now because I have to pay these nursing home fees and am selling anything that I think might fetch some money,” she told the Southern Daily Echo newspaper in October 2008.

In early May, Winslet and DiCaprio, stars of the 1997 Oscar-winning Titanic, and James Cameron, director of one of the largest grossing movies ever produced, provided a large amount of money to pay for her nursing home fees.

They donated a total of $30,000 to help cover the monthly nursing home fees of 3,000 pounds ($4,800 .)

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