World's oldest person, Emma Morano, dies aged 117

Nick Squires
Emma Morano was the last known person to be born in the 1800s - AP

Emma Morano, the world’s oldest person, has died at the age of 117, after a life that has spanned three centuries.

Mrs Morano was born in November 1899, when Britain was at war with the Boers in South Africa.

Emma Morano  Credit: AFP

She was one of eight children – five sisters and three brothers – and was the world’s last living link to the 19th century.

She lived through two World Wars, worked in a jute factory and courageously decided to separate from an abusive husband at a time when divorce was frowned on.

The centenarian had become something of a celebrity, with her own Wikipedia entry, and earlier this year her long life was marked by a party and concert organized by Verbania, the town in which she lived on the shores of Lake Maggiore in northern Italy.

Emma Morano Credit: AFP

Mrs Morano was officially recognised as the world’s oldest person after the previous holder of the title, Susannah Mushatt Jones, died in New York in May last year.

One of her carers told The Telegraph then that the secret to her longevity was eating three eggs a day, two of them raw, and a little raw minced meat.

She maintained the regime ever since a doctor advised her that it would be good for her health when she was diagnosed with anemia at the age of 20.

Her social life became more limited towards the end, as her sight and hearing failed and she lost more and more of her contemporaries. 

Emma Morano celebrating at 116 Credit: Alamy

Mrs Morano was born in the village of Civiasco in the Piedmont region of northern Italy in 1899, the year in which Guglielmo Marconi first transmitted a radio signal across the English Channel.

She worked in a factory making jute sacks, and then as a cook.

Aside from eating raw food, not smoking and drinking wine in moderation, she credits her longevity with having left a violent husband in 1938, shortly after the death of her only child at the age of seven months.

She remained single for the rest of her life.

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