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In New Spring, we see a passage where Gitara Foretells Rand being born on the slopes of Dragonmount. Then, she immediately dies:

"He is born again!" Gitara cried. "I feel him! The Dragon takes his first breath on the slope of Dragonmount! He is coming! He is coming! Light help us! Light help the world! He lies in the snow and cries like the thunder! He burns like the sun!"

With the last word, she gasped, a tiny sound, and fell forward into Moiraine's arms.

So she has the Foretelling, and suddenly dies? We know she as well as other people like Elaida have had Foretellings before...why did this one kill her?

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  • Another thing to consider is that dying of old age is a very different experience for Aes Sedai compared to everyone else. Because Aes Sedai don't suffer any decline in health or vitality towards the end of their lives, their deaths tend to come swiftly and without warning when the time comes.
    – David H
    Jan 29, 2016 at 12:23

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This is the only real description of the scene we get, and it's never explained exactly what killed her. We aren't given any indication that Gitara Moroso was ill or dying prior to that prophecy.

However, note that at the time of her death, she was over 300 years old, which is very old for an Aes Sedia. Cadsuane is often cited as the oldest living Aes Sedia and she's only 294. So, Gitara would already have been incredibly near the end of her life. The incredible amount of stress brought on by giving the most important and most deadly Prophecy in thousands of years -- all brought on at once -- is implied to have caused her heart to give out, and she died "of shock".

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    Some of Cadsuane's reflections on her age are quite interesting. She strongly suggests that under normal circumstances she would have died of old age decades ago, and that the only reason she hasn't is because "through determination and grit" she's managed to stretch her life expectancy beyond the usual limits. Given that Gitara is both older than Cadsuane and weaker in the Power, I imagine her to be in the situation, only more so. One possibility is that the Pattern simply needed Gitara to hang on long enough to deliver the prophecy and that was the only thing keeping her alive at that point
    – David H
    Jan 29, 2016 at 12:54
  • According to Wheel of Time Companion, the stronger Aes Sedai is, the longer she is expected to live. So I think Cadsuane may have a lot longer to live than she thinks. She is a lot stronger than Gitara Reference: tor.com/2015/10/27/…
    – tozka
    Oct 23, 2020 at 17:49
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Yes Gitara died of old age, but Cadsuane is far older than anyone thinks, by at least 50yrs. Her secret is her OP strength. The average Aes Sedai lives about 250, and since she is MUCH strong than average, of course she live longer than any of the others. It's never mentioned, but I don't think the Aes Sedai realize this, which would explain why they keep thinking she should be dead.

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    This seems likely. But can you provide some evidence from the books to support it?
    – Adamant
    Nov 23, 2016 at 5:30
  • Evidence: tor.com/2015/10/27/…
    – tozka
    Oct 23, 2020 at 17:49

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