World's oldest person dies at 115

A Portuguese woman believed to be the world's oldest living person died on Friday at the age of 115, officials said.

A Portuguese woman believed to be the world's oldest living person died on Friday at the age of 115, officials said.

Maria de Jesus, who was born on Sept. 10, 1893, and lived to see five great-great grandchildren born, died in an ambulance near the town of Tomar, officials said.

De Jesus had eaten her breakfast as usual and was being taken to the hospital because of swelling, her daughter, Maria Madalena, told the state news agency Lusa.

De Jesus had never before fallen ill and had lived her 115 years and 114 days without taking medication, her daughter said.

She reportedly only had had to visit a hospital once in her life before being transported by ambulance for treatment on Friday.

De Jesus refused to go to a nursing home despite her health beginning to fail over recent years, and she suffered from sight and hearing problems, family said.

In her last days, she was unable to recognize family, including Madalena, with whom she lived on a farm, the Daily Mail reported.

'Sweetest person'

De Jesus was left a widow at age 57 and outlived three of her six children. She is also survived by 11 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren.

De Jesus was born in a poor area of central Portugal and began working on a farm at age 12. She never went to school or learned to read or write, her family told Lusa. She also never smoked nor drank alcohol or coffee, and she avoided eating meat, they said.

Corvelo Sousa, president of the town council of Tomar, 66 kilometres north of the port city of Porto, confirmed the death.

Tomar town Coun. Ivo Santos said: "I regret the death of this lady. She really was the sweetest person."

P.E.I.-born woman 4th oldest in world

De Jesus only held the title of the world's oldest person, listed by Guinness World Records and the Gerontology Research Group, for about five weeks.

She received the title on Nov. 26, 2008, when Edna Parker died at the age of 115.

American Gertrude Baines, 114, is now the world's oldest known living person.

A P.E.I.-born woman, Mary Josephine Ray, is now ranked as the fourth-oldest person in the world. Ray, 113, resides in New Hampshire.

According to the Gerontology Research Group, the following Canadians are also believed to be among the world's 92 known living supercentenarians (people who have reached age 110):

  • New Brunswick resident Margaret Fitzgerald, 112.
  • New Brunswick resident Emilie Lavoie, 110.
  • Quebec resident Judith Pinard, 110.

With files from the Associated Press