Society

World's Oldest Person, Last Born In 1800s Dies At 117

| by Kathryn Schroeder

The world's oldest person, Emma Morano, has died at the age of 117.

Morano lived in Verbania, in the Piedmont region of Italy, and was the last living person to be born in the 1800s, BBC News reports. During her life, which began on Nov. 29, 1899, she experienced an abusive marriage, two world wars, more than 90 Italian governments, and the loss of her only son when he was just 6-months-old.

The key to Morano's longevity, according to her, was genetics and a diet of three eggs a day, two of which were eaten raw, for more than 90 years.

"When I met her, she ate three eggs per day, two raw in the morning and then an omelette at noon and chicken at dinner," Morano's doctor of 27 years, Carlo Bava, told the AFP news agency, according to BBC News. He added that she rarely ate vegetables or fruit.

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She began this diet after World War I when she was diagnosed with anemia. More recently, she only ate two eggs per day and a few biscuits.

Morano also attributed her long life to kicking out her husband in 1938, a year after the couple lost their infant son. She remarked that the marriage had always been unhealthy, and that after the man she loved died in World War I, she was not interested in marrying anyone else.

But Morano was not given much choice when her husband proposed.

"He told me: 'If you're lucky you marry me, or I'll kill you,'" she said in an interview at the age of 112. "I was 26 years old. I got married."

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The couple separated in 1938, but remained married until his death in 1978. Morano never remarried.

"I didn't want to be dominated by anyone," she told The New York Times in 2015.

Morano worked until she was 75, but spent the last 20 years in her small, two-room apartment.

She had eight siblings, of whom she was the eldest, BBC News reports. Several of her sisters reached 100-years-old, and her mother lived to be 91.

The oldest living person is now 117-year-old Jamaican Violet Brown, who was born on March 10, 1900. The second and third oldest both live in Japan: 116-year-old Nabi Tajima; and Chiyo Miyako, 115.

The Gerontology Research Group has verified that there are 43 supercentenarians living around the world. Their average age is 113; 42 are female, one is male.

Sources: BBC News, Gerontology Research Group / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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