World’s oldest person, born in 1899, dies at 117 in Italy
ROME — Emma Morano, at 117 the world’s oldest person who is also believed to have been the last surviving person born in the 1800s, died Saturday at her home in northern Italy, her physician said.
Dr. Carlo Bava said by phone that Morano’s caretaker called him to say she had stopped breathing in the afternoon while sitting in an armchair at her home in Verbania, a town on Italy’s Lake Maggiore.
Bava said he had last seen his patient Friday when “she thanked me and held my hand,” as she did every time he called on her. While Morano had been increasingly spending more time sleeping and less time speaking in recent weeks, she had still eaten her daily raw egg and biscuits that day, he said.
A woman in Jamaica, Violet Brown, who was born in that Caribbean island on March 10, 1900, is now considered the oldest known person in the world, according to a list kept by the Gerontology Research Group.
Morano’s doctor, who lives a few blocks away from his patient, had been her physician for nearly a quarter of a century.
Morano, born Nov. 29, 1899, had been living in a tidy, one-room apartment, where she was kept company by her caregiver and two elderly nieces.
“She didn’t suffer. I’m happy she didn’t suffer but passed away that way, tranquilly,” Bava said Saturday.
He said she had been her usual talkative self until a few weeks ago. Since then it was clear, “she was slowly fading away,” and spending nearly all day in bed.
Last fall on her birthday, Morano declared: “I’m happy I have turned 117!”
Morano left her husband in 1938 because he beat her. She “abandoned the husband in the Fascist era, when women were supposed to be very submissive,” Bava said in 2015. “She was always very decisive.”
Morano began working in a factory making jute bags when she was 16. Then she worked at a hotel, working way beyond the usual retirement age. Besides work, she enjoyed herself. She was considered a good dancer with a beautiful singing voice in her youth.
Morano also defied health advice, Bava said. Some doctors had warned her against eating three eggs daily, which she did for years, but she ignored their advice.
Emma Morano marks her 117th birthday last fall.