World’s old­est per­son, born in 1899, dies at 117 in Italy

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NEWS - By Frances D’Emilio

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.

AN­TO­NIO CALANNI/AP 2016

Emma Mo­rano marks her 117th birth­day last fall.

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