Emma Morano, world's oldest person and last to be born in 1800s, dies aged 117

Will Worley
The world's oldest woman has died: AFP

Emma Morano, the world's oldest person, has died at the age of 117.

Born on November 29 1899, Ms Morano was also believed to have been the last surviving person in the world who was born in the 1800s.

She died while sitting in an armchair at her home in Verbania, a town on Lake Maggiore, Italy.

Her doctor, Carlo Bava, visited her nearly every day and said her condition had been normal until several weeks ago. But "she was slowly fading away", said Dr Bava.

Ms Morano credited her longevity to eating eggs, going to bed early and being single.

Her diet consisted of several eggs every day, sometimes raw, despite health advice to the contrary.

“I eat two eggs a day, and that’s it. And cookies. But I do not eat much because I have no teeth,” she told Agence-France Presse last September.

She avoided meat because she was once told it causes cancer.

Ms Morano preferred singledom – though she had many "suitors" – after she left an abusive husband in 1938.

In a 2015 interview with Associated Press, Dr Bava said Ms Morano ''abandoned her husband in the Fascist era, when women were supposed to be very submissive ... She was always very decisive."

"I didn't want to be dominated by anyone," she later said of it.

Ms Morano had a number of jobs through her life, working mostly as a cook and in a factory, and did not retire until she was 75-years-old.

Dr Bava once called her old age "a phenomenon".

However, genetics likely also played a role – her sisters reached 100-years-old and her mother 91.

A woman in Jamaica, Violet Brown, who was born on the 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.

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness tweeted his congratulations to her.