Emma Morano, an Italian woman believed to have been the oldest person alive and the last survivor of the 19th century, died today at the age of 117, Italian media reported.
Morano, born on November 29 1899, died at her home in Verbania, in northern Italy, the reports said.
"She had an extraordinary life, and we will always remember her strength to move forward in life," the mayor of Verbania was quoted as saying.
According to the US-based Gerontology Research Group (GRG), Morano ceded the crown of the world's oldest human being to Jamaican Violet Brown, who was born on March 10, 1900.
Morano's death means there is no one living known to have been born before 1900.
Her first love died in World War I, but she married later and left her violent husband just before the Second World War and shortly after the death in infancy of her only son.
She had clung to her independence, only taking on a full-time carer a couple of years ago, though she had not left her small two-room apartment for 20 years.
She had been bed-bound during her latter years.
In an interview with AFP last year, she put her longevity down to her diet.
"I eat two eggs a day, and that's it. And cookies. But I do not eat much because I have no teeth," she said in her home at the time, where the Guinness World Records certificate declaring her to be the oldest person alive held pride of place on a marble-topped chest of drawers.
Her dietary regime has intrigued the medical and scientific worlds.
The eldest of eight children, Morano outlived all of her younger siblings.
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