World’s oldest person dies in Japan at age 117 – newspaper

TOKYO, JAPAN (BNO NEWS) -- Misao Okawa, born at a time when Meiji ruled the Japanese Empire and sixteen years before the outbreak of World War I, died at her residence in Japan on Wednesday, local media reported. She was 117 years old and had been recognized as the world's oldest living person.

Misao died on early Wednesday morning inside her residence at a nursing home in the city of Osaka, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) southwest of Tokyo, the facility told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. The newspaper added that Misao died of natural causes and a private funeral is being planned.

Misao's death comes less than a month after she had celebrated her 117th birthday, which was televised across the country.

Misao was born in Osaka on March 5, 1898, and married in 1919 to business owner Yukio, with whom she went on to have three children until he died in 1931. Misao became the world's oldest living person in June 2013 following the death of Jiroemon Kimura, who died at the age of 116.

Asked about the secret to her longevity, Misao credited sushi and sleeping at least eight hours every night, but her health had slowly deteriorated over the past few months. At a celebration to mark her birthday on March 5, she said she was very happy to have lived for so many years, but added that "it seemed rather short."

The new record-holder as the world's oldest living person is believed to be 116-year-old Gertrude Weaver, who lives in Arkansas and who is due to turn 117 in July, according to the Gerontology Research Group (GRG). Guinness World Records is expected to formally confirm Weaver as the world's oldest living person in the coming weeks.

The oldest undisputed person to have ever lived in the world was Jeanne Calment who died in France in 1997 at the age of 122 years and 164 days. Other people have claimed to be older than Calment, but those claims have never been verified with official documentation and other supporting evidence.

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