The world’s oldest person, Susannah Mushatt Jones has died on Thursday night May 12, in New York City, aged 116 years. Susannah Jones, who had been living in a care home in Brooklyn, New York, for more than 30 years, had been ill for the past 10 days.
Robert Young, a senior consultant for the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group which holds a database keeping tabs of the world’s longest-living people, broke the news to the Associated Press.
In July 2015, Jones became the record holder for the Guinness World Records title of oldest living female after the death of 117-year-old Misao Okawa. She was given the record on her 116th birthday.
Ms. Jones – who was known as Miss Susie – was born on 7 July 1899, into a family of 11 in a small farm town near Montgomery, Alabama.
She attended a special school for young black girls. When she graduated from high school in 1922, Jones worked full time helping family members pick crops. She left after a year to begin working as a nanny, heading north to New Jersey and eventually making her way to New York.
Jones, the very last surviving American to be born in the 1800s, after she moved to New York, worked with a group of her fellow high school graduates to start a scholarship fund for young African-American women to go to college. She also was active in her public housing building’s tenant patrol until she was 106.
Family members said last year that they credited her long life to love of family and generosity to others. At the time, she believed it helped that her aunt grew up on a rural farm, where she ate fresh fruits and vegetables that she picked herself.
Ms. Judge, one of Jones nieces said she thought that plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in her aunt’s early life had helped. She kept a steady diet of bacon, eggs and grits for breakfast.
Jones did not leave behind any children. She was married for a few years. She was known as “T” (short for auntie) to her 100 nieces and nephews.
According to the Gerontology Research Group, Jones’ death makes Emma Morano-Martinuzzi, a 116-year-old woman in Italy, the oldest living person.
The oldest verified person was Jeanne Calment of France, who died in 1997 at 122 years and 164 days, the research group said.