World’s oldest person, Misao Okawa, died Wednesday morning due to a heart failure, just a few weeks after she turned 117. Okawa, who was born in 1898 in the southern Japanese town of Osaka, died at a nursing home while her grandson and workers stood by her side.
"She went so peacefully, as if she had just fallen asleep," Tomohiro Okada, an official at the nursing home in her hometown Osaka, said, according to CBS News, adding: "We miss her a lot."
Okawa had four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren and was recognized as the world’s oldest person in 2013 by the Guinness World Records. She had said that the key to her longevity was getting at least eight hours of sleep a night and eating sushi, which was her favorite food, BBC reported. Celebrations of her latest birthday were reportedly shown on Japan’s national television.
Okawa was born to a kimono-maker and had moved to Kobe in Hyogo prefecture in 1919 after her marriage to Yukio, who ran a business. When Yukio died in 1931, she moved to her birthplace. Okawa has lived through three centuries, seen four Japanese emperors, six British monarchs and 20 U.S. presidents, the BBC reported.
"Her (Okawa) impressive longevity ... is an inspiration and a testament to the Japanese lifestyle," Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief of Guinness World Records, said, according to BBC.
After Okawa’s death, the world’s oldest person now becomes Gertrude Weaver of the U.S., who will turn 117 on July 4, according to Reuters.
According to Guinness, the world’s oldest person who has ever lived was French woman Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 after living for 122 years and 164 days, BBC reported. However, Luo Meizhen, a Chinese woman is said to have lived 127 years. Local officials say that Guinness World Records never recognized her claim. Luo died in June 2013.
Meanwhile, Bolivian public records claimed in 2013 that Flores Laura, a herder in Aymara, had lived 123 years.