Virginia McLaurin, woman who captured America’s heart when she danced with the Obamas aged 106, dies at 113

Virginia McLaurin, the woman who captured America’s heart when she danced with the Obamas aged 106, has died at the age of 113.

McLaurin died on Monday after spending a few days under hospice care, her family said in a statement on her Facebook page.

“With heavy hearts we share that Ms. Virginia McLaurin passed away this morning,” the statement read.

“She lived an incredibly full life and appreciated all the love she received from people on this FB page and everywhere she went.”

McLaurin shot to national attention back in 2016 when a video of her meeting then-President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama went viral on social media.

In the heartwarming video, the 106-year-old Black woman excitedly danced with the couple and shared her amazement that she had lived to see a Black president and first lady.

McLaurin had been invited to the White House in celebration of Black History Month after she spent decades doing volunteer work with disabled students at schools following her retirement.

When she arrived to meet the Obamas, she let out a loud “Hi!” and raised her hands to greet the president, before excitedly dancing on the spot.

In the video, Mr Obama is seen gently taking her arms to help her into the room and asking: “How are you?”

The joyful centenarian exclaimed: “I’m fine!”

When Mr Obama asked if “you want to say hi to Michelle,” McLaurin cried: “Yes!”

The president led her across the room to Ms Obama, laughing and joking: “Slow down now. Don’t go too quick!”

As the first lady asked what her “secret” was to dancing at the age of 106, the trio shared a touching moment where they held hands and danced together in the room.

McLaurin then told the Obamas how significant the moment was to her – to be in the White House with a Black president and first lady.

“I thought I would never live to get in the White House,” she told them.

“I am so happy… a Black president,” she said to Mr Obama, before turning to Ms Obama: “And a Black wife… Yes!”

The trio laughed and celebrated the moment together.

“You have just made our day. You know that? That energy, man,” said Ms Obama.

“Well, you made my day,” McLaurin replied.

The video went viral on social media and has been watched 70 million times on the White House Facebook page.

Virginia McLaurin dances with the Obamas in the White House in 2016 (Barack Obama)
Virginia McLaurin dances with the Obamas in the White House in 2016 (Barack Obama)

The Obamas both paid tribute to McLaurin on Tuesday following the news of her death.

“Rest in peace, Virginia. We know you’re up there dancing,” they wrote, alongside the video of the moment.

In her family’s statement, they said that while McLaurin became “best known for her visit to the White House in 2016, she spent decades volunteering 40 hours a week at schools after she retired”.

“She had an extraordinary memory, sharing stories of family’s life as sharecroppers in South Carolina before traveling north in the Great Migration,” the statement read.

McLaurin was born into a family of Black sharecroppers in South Carolina during the Jim Crow era before moving to Washington DC during the Great Migration.

She had three children and worked in a laundry and at a shipyard. When she retired, she dedicated her time to volunteering in local schools.

A GoFundMe launched to help with funeral and burial arrangements had topped $5,000 on Wednesday morning.