Emma Morano, last known survivor of 19th century dies | News | DW | 15.04.2017
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Emma Morano, last known survivor of 19th century dies

Born in November 1899, Emma Morano has died at her home in northern Italy. She lived for 117 years and 137 days, making her the oldest Italian person ever. But what was the secret of her longevity?

Italian media reported Emma Morano's death on Saturday, citing her family. Local media said her health had deteriorated in recent weeks.

Morano, who was 117, was the last survivor of the 19th century, having been born on November 29 1899 in Civiasco, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) northeast of Turin.

The supercentenarian passed away at her home in nearby Verbania, northern Italy, surrounded by relatives and her carer, according to media reports.

"She had an extraordinary life, and we will always remember her strength to help us move forward in life," the mayor of Verbania was quoted as saying.

Her life spanned three centuries, two World Wars and more than 90 Italian governments.

Recovered from tragedy

Morano was the oldest of eight siblings and married in 1926. But she separated from her abusive husband 12 years later. They had one son, who died when he was only six months old.

Italian media said she worked for many years at a local factory in Verbania before being employed in the kitchen of a boarding school in nearby Pallanza. She remained there until her retirement at 75.

Morano credited her longevity to a diet of eggs and meat, along with being single.

In 2016, Guinness World Records gave her a certificate to confirm her as the oldest person alive, and one of the five verified oldest people ever.

According to the Gerontology Research Group, a US body that tracks supercentenarians, the oldest person after Morano is Violet Brown, a Jamaican woman who turned 117 on March 10.

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