Share story

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — An elderly Greek islander who unwillingly gained international fame for helping newly landed refugees at the height of Europe’s immigration crisis has died aged 90.

The United Nations refugee agency expressed sorrow at Lesbos resident Maritsa Mavrapidou’s death Wednesday. It called her an “international symbol of solidarity” in a statement late Thursday

Mavrapidou became famous after being photographed in 2015 with two other elderly women in the village of Skala Skamnias, nursing a baby that had landed with its mother on a nearby beach after crossing from Turkey in a migrant boat.

The three women and other Lesbos residents were reportedly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 for their compassion toward arriving migrants.

Mavrapidou never felt comfortable with her fame, arguing that she had only done the decent thing.