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Spain's blogger granny dies at 97

By Steve Kingstone
BBC News, Madrid

A Spanish grandmother who billed herself as the "world's oldest internet blogger" has died at the age of 97.

Maria Amelia Lopez only began blogging from her seaside home in Galicia two years ago.

But her postings on international affairs, Spanish politics and old age quickly turned her into a celebrity, attracting followers around the world.

Towards the end of her life Maria Amelia used video rather than text to offer her thoughts.

'Elderly in action'

Maria Amelia Lopez only discovered the internet at the age of 95, when her grandson set up a blog (amis95.blogspot.com) as a birthday present.

When I'm on the internet, I forget about my illness. The distraction is good for you - being able to communicate with people. It wakes up the brain, and gives you great strength
Maria Amelia Lopez

But she quickly became a phenomenon.

A mix of opinions and nostalgia, tinged with a waspish sense of humour, her postings gave a deeply personal insight into the process of getting old.

She enlightened younger readers about her experience as an opponent of the Franco regime. And she blogged on modern-day politics ranging from the threat from Basque separatism to Iran's nuclear ambitions.

As her fame spread, the blog won rave reviews from as far afield as Alaska, China and Nigeria - and a prestigious international media award. There was even a meeting with Spain's prime minister.

This was one of her final postings, in February this year: "When I'm on the internet, I forget about my illness. The distraction is good for you - being able to communicate with people. It wakes up the brain, and gives you great strength."

Just three months before her death, Maria Amelia was introduced to the social networking site Facebook, where she set up a group called "the elderly in action".

Remembered fondly here as the "blogging granny" the internet has lost one its great characters.



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