US woman, said to be ‘world’s oldest’ dies at 116



Zeenews Bureau

Washington: An American woman aged 116, certified to be the oldest person in the world, died of a stomach ailment on Tuesday afternoon in Georgia’s nursing home.

Besse Cooper breathed her last “peacefully” in a nursing home at Monroe, situated near Atlanta.

According to her son Sidney Cooper, the oldest lady in the world had been unwell due to a virus-borne stomach ailment.

On Tuesday he said she had her hair set and watched a Christmas video, but later had trouble breathing. She was put on oxygen in her room and died there about 2 p.m., Cooper said.

Besse Cooper was declared the world's oldest person in January 2011. In May 2011, Guinness World Records learned that Maria Gomes Valentin of Brazil was 48 days older. Valentin died the next month.

"It's a sad day for me," said Robert Young, Guinness senior consultant for gerontology. He recalls meeting Cooper when she was 111 and took note of her mental agility.

"At that age she was doing really well, she was able to read books," he said.

Sidney Cooper said his family will likely hold a funeral for his mother later this week.

Besse Cooper was the first Georgian to hold the world record. She was born in Tennessee and moved to Georgia during World War I to look for work as a teacher.

After Cooper’s death, The title of world's oldest person now belongs to 115-year-old Dina Manfredini, of Johnston, Iowa, Young said. The oldest person known ever was Jeanne Calment, a French woman who died in 1997 till the age of 122 years.

With Agency Inputs