A research group said on Friday in New York that the world’s oldest living person, 116-year-old Susannah Mushatt Jones, is dead.
Robert Young, Senior Consultant for the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group, said Jones died on Thursday night at a public housing facility for seniors in Brooklyn where she had lived for more than three decades.
Young said the woman had been ill for the past 10 days.
The senior consultant disclosed that Jones’ death makes Emma Morano-Martinuzzi, a 116-year-old woman in Italy, the oldest living person.
Young described Jones, who was born in the southern U.S state of Alabama in 1899, as the daughter of sharecroppers and granddaughter of slaves.
Young, whose group tracks and maintains a database of the world’s longest-living people, said Jones was the very last American from the 1800s.
He said 116-year-old Emma Morano, of Verbania, Italy, just a few months younger than Jones, is now the unofficial world’s oldest person.
Young said after Jones moved to New York, she worked with a group of her fellow high school graduates to start a scholarship fund for young African-American women to go to college.
Reuters reported that she also was active in her public housing building’s tenant patrol until she was 106.