A Jamaican woman born 117 years ago has become the oldest person in the world after the death of Emma Morano, the Italian woman who was previously the oldest human being on the planet when she died at 117 on Saturday.
Morano, who was thought to have been the last surviving person born in the 1800s, was also one of the five oldest people in recorded history.
According to the Gerontology Research Group, the world’s oldest registered person is now Violet Brown, a 117-year-old Jamaican woman.
The country’s prime minister, Andrew Holness, tweeted:
The second and third oldest people are two Japanese women, Nabi Tajima and Chiyo Miyako, who were born, respectively, on 4 August 1900 and 2 May 1901.
A Spanish woman, Ana Vela, 115, who was born on 29 October 1901, is the oldest European and the fourth oldest person in the world, according to the GRG.
Last year Vela, a retired seamstress, became the oldest living Spaniard. She lives in a residential home near Barcelona, uses a wheelchair and can no longer communicate with her family or her carers.
El País reported that her 89-year-old daughter, Ana, recently had to give up her almost daily visits to her mother because of her own health. But her grandson, Antonio, who is 65, still sees her regularly.
“I always thought my grandmother would live a long time because she was doing really well when she got to 100,” he told the newspaper. “I expected she’d be the oldest person in Spain one day, but I never imagined she’d be the oldest in Europe.”
Speaking to El País last summer, Vela’s daughter said there was no secret to her mother’s extraordinarily long life. “She liked a glass of semi-sweet wine with her meals, but she was never one to drink a lot. She ate everything: meat, fish, vegetables. Her diet was very normal – just home-cooked stuff.”