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Lori and George Schappell, the world’s oldest living conjoined twins, dead at 62

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — George and Lori Schappell, who were the world’s oldest living conjoined twins, died April 7 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, according to their obituary.

Born Sept. 18, 1961, in West Reading, Pa., the twins were 62 years and 202 days old, nine years older than the second-oldest pair of female-born conjoined twins ever recorded, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Lori and George were joined at the head and had separate bodies, making them craniopagus twins. Guinness reported they had partially fused skulls and shared blood vessels and 30% of their brain. While Lori could walk, George had spina bifida and got around through the use of a wheeled stool that Lori would push and steer.

George came out as transgender in 2007.

Prior to transitioning, George at one point used the name Reba after the country artist Reba McEntire.

Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium Grand Opening - June 21, 2007
Lori and George Schappell at the grand opening of the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium in New York City’s Times Square on June 21, 2007. The twins lived together in Pennsylvania and according to the Guinness Book of World Records, were the world’s oldest living conjoined twins.

Jason Kempin/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Graduates of the Hiram G. Andrews Center in Johnstown, Pa., Lori and George were previously employed at Reading Hospital.

The twins lived on their own since they were 24 years old, their obituary says.

In 1997, the pair told filmmaker Antony Thomas how they kept separate lives and let each other pursue their own interests. The video is available on the True Lives YouTube channel and shows the twins letting Thomas into their apartment.

Like his prior namesake Reba, George was a country singer himself. When he needed time to rehearse, the twins would go to George’s room and Lori would give him peace and quiet.

“This is her room, I’m here in body, but that is it. This is her place,” Lori says in the video.

“I treat back here like I’m in a concert and yes, she cannot interrupt me or talk to me while I’m out performing,” George says in the documentary.

“Just because we cannot get up and walk away from each other doesn’t mean we cannot have solitude from other people or ourselves,” Lori adds. “People who are conjoined can have a very private life.”

“If you love the person you’re with and you respect them, you’re going to give them the privacy and compromise in situations that you would want them to give you,” George added.

Lori had interests of her own, and loved bowling – she won several trophies, according to her obituary.

Guinness said the twins had their own rooms in their apartment and would alternate the nights they spent in each one.

Lori and George were also guests on the long-running Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon that aired on Labor Day.

They also appeared on several TV talk shows and in documentaries.

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