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Titanic's last survivor no more

June 01, 2009 14:43 IST

The last remaining survivor of the Titanic ship-wreck has died, nearly 100 years after she was rescued, at 9 weeks of age, from the doomed ocean liner's deck.

97-year-old Elizabeth Gladys Dean, also called Millvina, passed away on Sunday at a UK nursing home. She had been taken to a hospital last week and was reportedly suffering from pneumonia.

On April 14, 1912, the 'unsinkable' Titanic struck an ice berg in the North Atlantic and sank, just four days into her maiden voyage from England to New York City, leaving 1,517 dead and only 706 survivors. The tragic story was famously reproduced in 1997's Academy Award-winning film Titanic, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

Millvina, who was just 9 weeks old when she set sail for America with her mother, father and one-year-old brother, was the youngest passenger on the ship. The family was travelling third class. After the 'unsinkable' Titanic hit an ice berg, Millvina's father told her mother to take the two children up on deck, where they were brought aboard a lifeboat and lowered to safety. Her father stayed behind and perished.

When Barbara Dainton died in October 2007, at the age of 96 , Millvina became the last living survivor. When last December she was forced to sell several personal items -- including a compensation letter to her mother from the Titanic Relief Fund -- in order to pay for her 2.5-lakh-per-month medical care, her plight was brought to the attention of Titanic stars DiCaprio and Winslet and the film's director James Cameron, who contributed 17 lakhs to the Millvina Fund (an independent fund meant to pay Ms. Dean's care costs).

The sold personal mementos were also returned to Millvina, by the person who had bought them at auction.

Miss Dean, who worked as a secretary and cartographer throughout her life, is reported to have said of her experiences: 'My Mum, brother and I were among the lucky ones. I put our survival down to the bravery of my father who was alert to the dangers and made sure we got off.'