ITALY—Italian Supercentenarian Emma Morano, the oldest living human being to date, died at the age of 117 on Saturday, April 15.
Morano reportedly stopped breathing while sitting in an arm chair at her home, according to Dr. Carlo Bava, who spoke with Morano’s caretaker.
Bava, who had provided Morano with medical care for 27 years, told reporters that he had last seen her on Friday, where she thanked him and held his hand, “as usual.”
For over 90 years, Morano ate three eggs a day, two of which were raw, and seldom consumed fruits or vegetables after being informed that she had anemia following World War I. Some doctors advised against her dietary regimen, though Bava stated that she often defied health advice.
Born on November 29, 1899 in Civiasco, Italy, Morano is believed to have been the last survivor of the 19th century. She was the eldest of eight siblings (five daughters and three sons), all of whom she outlived. One of her sisters, Angela Morano, lived until age 102, and her mother, aunt, and some of her other siblings lived until the age of 90.
Morano married Giovanni Martinuzzi in 1926, from whom she separated in 1938 (in the Facist era, Bava has noted), claiming that her husband was abusive and threatened to kill her if she did not marry him. Her only child, a son, was born in 1937, but died at the age of six months. Morano never remarried, stating to the New York Times that she “did not want to be dominated by anyone.” She has attributed her longevity to her decision not to marry again.
Morano is the second oldest European following Jeanne Calment, who died at the age of 121 in 1997. She is the oldest confirmed Italian person and among the top five oldest people in the world.
At the time of her death, Morano was living in a one-room apartment in Verbania, Italy, receiving care from her nieces along with her caretaker who informed Bava of her death.
“The beauty of Emma is that it is normal that she smiles, but also in difficulties, she is very decisive. But perhaps this tranquility comes with age, which becomes wisdom. Who knows?” Bava told the Associated Press.