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World's oldest person, Susannah Mushatt Jones, dies aged 116

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:50 IST

The world's oldest person has died at the age of 116. Born on 6 July, 1899, Susannah Mushatt Jones, was also the last American born in the 19th century. She passed away on 12 May in a Brooklyn nursing home where she had lived for three decades.

Jones co-founded a scholarship fund for young African-American women to go to college and was active in her public building's tenant patrol until the age of 106, The Guardian reported.

Jones became the oldest person in the world when 117-year-old Misao Okawa, who believed eating sushi was the key to long life, died in Tokyo last year. The title of the world's oldest person now passes on to Emma Morano, also 116. Morano, who was born four and a half months after Jones on 28 November, 1899, lives in Verbania, north-west Italy, and has seen 11 popes enter the Vatican.

How do they do it?

Jones credited abstinence from alcohol and cigarettes and at least 10 hour of sleep for her longevity. In 2015, her niece, Lois Judge, had said that her aunt benefited from eating fresh fruit and vegetables which she picked herself on the farm she grew up near Montgomery, Alabama,The Guardian reported.

On the other hand, Morano attributes her longevity to eating three raw eggs a day since she was a teenager, a glass of homemade grappa - to ward off anemia - and being single. Morano split from her husband in 1938 and never remarried. "I didn't want to be dominated by anyone," she told the New York Times.

According to The Guardian, she shares some similarities with Jones, who was only married for a few years and also started her day with eggs and bacon.

However, The Guardian quoted an expert on ageing as saying that research showed that being single was not a reliable recipe for old age. Prof Karen Glaser, from King's College London's institute of gerontology and director of its centre of global ageing, said, "100 years of research shows if you're married, you're more likely to live longer than if you're not married."

First published: 14 May 2016, 2:32 IST