World's oldest woman, Gertrude Weaver, dies aged 116

Ms Weaver was one of four known people on the planet to be born before 1900

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A woman who last week became the world’s oldest-known living person has died. She was 116.

Gertrude Weaver passed away at a senior care facility in Arkansas, officials said on Monday.

Weaver held onto her ‘oldest woman’ title for just six days before she died.  The centenarian said her secret to longevity was to treat people kindly.

Kathy Langley, the administrator of the Silver Oaks Health & Rehabilitation Center in Camden, Arkansas, said Weaver had enjoyed being read news articles about being the oldest person on the planet.

“She certainly enjoyed it,” Langley said, adding, “we are devastated by her loss.”

Weaver was born on 4 July, 1898, according to the Gerontology Research Group, which validates ages of the world's longest-living people.

Only three people other people alive today were born before 1900, according to the group.

Born to sharecroppers, Weaver worked as a domestic helper. 

Following Weaver’s passing, Jeralean Talley, who was born on May 23, 1899, has assumed the mantle as the world’s oldest known person. She will turn 116 next month, according to the group.

Talley who lives in the Detroit suburb of Inkster, credits her faith for her longevity.

“It's the Lord. Everything is in his hands,” she said in an interview last year at the one-story brick home she shares with her daughter, Thelma Holloway.

Despite her age, Talley has remained active in her old age, and bowled until she was 104. She never smoked or drank alcohol and her only surgery was to have her tonsils removed, she said.

Misao Okawa, a Japanese woman who credited her longevity to “eating delicious things,” had been the world's oldest living person until her death on 1 April at the age of 117.

Additional reporting by Reuters