World’s oldest person dies at 117

World’s oldest person, Emma Morano, died peacefully in her home in northern Italy at 117 years old.

VERBANIA, ITALY – The world’s oldest person, Emma Morano, died peacefully on April 16 at her home in northern Italy at age 117.

She was the last documented person to be born in the 1800s and the fifth oldest person in recorded history, living through two world wars, more than 90 Italian governments, and the advent of the nuclear and digital age. She credits her longevity to her decision to leave an abusive husband, a man she married at 26 years old, and her unorthodox diet.

“I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone.”

– Ms Morano in an interview with the New York Times

Ms Morano’s long life started on Nov. 29, 1899, four years before the Wright brothers’ first flight. She was the oldest of eight siblings – all of whom she outlived – born to a couple in northern Italy.

In an interview with Reuters on her 117th birthday last year, she said she did not live an easy life. Not only did she work in a factory until she was 65, she was also forced to marry a man she did not love after her fiance died in World War One.

Photo: AP

The marriage was never healthy. “Either you agree to marry me, or I’ll kill you,” Ms Morano said, recalling his proposal.

They eventually separated in 1938, against social conventions then, after their infant son died after just six months, although they remained married until his death in 1978. “I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone,” she told the New York Times two years ago.

Ms Morano also attributed her longevity to an unorthodox diet of three eggs – two raw and one fried – every day for 90 years, a regime she picked up at the recommendation of her doctor to counter anaemia shortly after World War One.

Dr Carlo Bava, her doctor of 27 years, told AFP news agency last year that she rarely ate fruits or vegetables. “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.”

“Today she has slowed down a bit, reducing the number to two some days because she says three can be too much,” he added.

At her funeral on Monday, Silvia Marchionini, mayor of Verbania, celebrated her life. “We will always remember her strength to help us move forward in life,” she said. “She reached an incredible finish line.”

The world’s oldest person is now 117-year-old Violet Brown, a Jamaican woman born on March 10, 1900.

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