Emma Morano: World's oldest person dies at age 117

Emma Morano, who was born on November 29, 1899, passed away in her armchair in Verbania, Italy, on Saturday.

    Emma Morano holds a cake with candles marking her 117th birthday on November 29, 2016 [Antonio Calanni/AP]
    Emma Morano holds a cake with candles marking her 117th birthday on November 29, 2016 [Antonio Calanni/AP]

    The world's oldest person has died at age 117 in her home in northern Italy.

    Emma Morano was born on November 29, 1899. She was also believed to have been the last surviving person in the world who was born in the 1800s.

    Dr Carlo Bava told the Associated Press by telephone that Morano's caretaker called him to say the woman had died on Saturday afternoon while sitting in an armchair in her home in Verbania, a town on Lake Maggiore.

    Bava said he last paid his almost daily call on Morano on Friday. "She thanked me and held my hand" as usual, he said.

    The eldest of eight children, Morano outlived all of her younger siblings.

    "She had an extraordinary life, and we will always remember her strength to move forward in life," the mayor of Verbania was quoted as saying by Italian media. 

    Her first love died in World War I, but she married later and left her violent husband just before World War II and shortly after the death in infancy of her only son.

    Morano "abandoned the husband in the Fascist era, when women were supposed to be very submissive", Bava said in a 2015 interview with AP. "She was always very decisive."

    Morano went on to support herself by working in a factory making jute bags, then at a hotel, working way beyond the usual retirement age.

    READ MORE: World's oldest man dies at 116

    She had clung to her independence, only taking on a full-time carer a couple of years ago, though she had not left her small two-room apartment for 20 years.    

    She had been bed-bound during her latter years.

    In an interview with AFP news agency last year, Morano put her longevity down to her diet.    

    "I eat two eggs a day, and that's it. And cookies. But I do not eat much because I have no teeth," she said in her home at the time, where the Guinness World Records certificate declaring her to be the oldest person alive held pride of place on a marble-topped chest of drawers.

    Her dietary regime has intrigued the medical and scientific worlds.

    According to the Gerontology Research Group, a US body that tracks supercentenarians, the oldest person after Morano is Jamaican woman Violet Brown, who turned 117 on March 10. Supercentenarians are people aged 110 or above. 

    SOURCE: News agencies


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