Thursday, April 02, 2015

World's Oldest Person Dies at 117 in Japan

When she celebrated her birthday last month, Misao Okawa was one of only a handful of people still alive who had been born in the 19th century.



The world's oldest person, Misao Okawa, died in Japan on Wednesday, April 1, a month after celebrating her 117th birthday.

The nursing home where she lived in Osaka said she breathed her last around 7 am local time (2200 GMT Tuesday, March 31).

On the occasion of her birthday early last month, Okawa, a mother of 3, grandmother of 4 and great-grandmother of 6, was one of only a handful of people still alive who had been born in the 19th century.

Her birth on March 5, 1898 predated the Wright brothers' first powered human flight by 5 years, she was already a teenager when World War I broke out and in her 70s by the time of the first moon landing.

When she turned 114, she was officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest woman in the globe.

Japan, known for the longevity of its people, is home to the world's oldest man – Sakari Momoi, who celebrated his 112th birthday in February.

In 2013, life expectancy for women in Japan was 86.61, the longest in the world followed by Hong Kong women, according to the health ministry.

For men it was 80.21, the fourth longest, after men in Hong Kong, Iceland and Switzerland.

The world's oldest person is now believed to be American Gertrude Weaver, who is reportedly 116 years old.

-shaw

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