A centenarian is a person who has
attained the age of 100 years or more. The
term is associated with longevity. Longevity
is long life or existence. Reflections on longevity have usually gone
beyond acknowledging the basic shortness of human life and included
thinking about, and conceiving, methods to extend life (indefinitely).
Longevity has been a topic not only for the scientific community but
also for writers of travel science fiction and utopian novels. A
supercentenarian (sometimes hyphenated) is someone who has
reached the age of 110 years or more, something achieved by only one
among hundreds of centenarians. In turn, only about one supercentenarian
in fifteen lives to turn 114. Senescence
is the state or process of aging. The word is derived from the Latin
word senex, meaning "old man" or "old
age." Cellular senescence
is a phenomena where isolated cells demonstrate a limited ability to
divide in culture. Organismal senescence is the aging of
aging is generally characterized by the declining ability to respond
to stress, increasing homeostatic imbalance and increased risk of
disease. Because of this, death is the ultimate consequence of aging.
have different lifestyles. But it appears that it matters most where
in the world (rather than how) you live. Health care and hygiene seem
to influence life expectancy more than any other factor (from the CIA
World Fact Book):
- First World: 77-81 years
- Second World: 65-77 years
- Third World: 35-60 years
While claims of extreme age have persisted from the
earliest times in history, the earliest supercentenarian who has
substantial scholarly acceptance is Geert Adriaans Boomgaard, who was
born in Groningen, Netherlands, September 21, 1788, and died there
February 3, 1899.
Reaching an old age has fascinated people
for ages. According to the ancient book Genesis
This article is about Genesis, the
first book of the Hebrew Bible. See Genesis (disambiguation) for other
usages of the word.
Γένεσις, having the meanings of
"birth", "creation", "cause",
"beginning", "source" and "origin";
translated from Hebrew בראשׁית Bereshit
or Bərêšîth) is the first book of the Torah (five
books of Moses) and hence the first book of the Tanakh, the Hebrew
Bible; it is also the first book of the Christian Old Testament.
According to the Bible, Methuselah
(Hebrew מתושׁלח Metushálach/Metushélach
was the oldest person who ever lived. He reportedly reached the age of
969 years. According to Genesis 5:27: And all the days of
Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died. (ASV)
(chapter 5 verse 27) Methuselah
This article is about the Biblical character. See Methuselah
(disambiguation) for other uses.
Today some maintain that the unusually high
longevity of Biblical patriarchs are the result of an error in
translation: lunar cycles were mistaken for the solar ones, and the
actual ages are 13.5 times less. This gives 72 years for Methuselah,
which is still an impressive number, bearing in mind the life
expectancy of these times. This theory however, seems doubtful to
others since patriarchs such as Mahalalel (5:15) and Enoch (5:21) were
said to have become fathers after 65 "years." If the lunar
cycle theory were accepted this would translate to an age of about 4
and 10 months.
"Known for attaining high
person ever whose age has been verified by modern documentation;
Centuries: 18th century - 19th century - 20th century
Jeanne Louise Calment (February 21 1875
- August 4 1997) had the longest (reliably reported) lifespan for
any human being in history. Her lifespan has been thoroughly
documented by scientific study. She married her second cousin
Fernand Calment in 1896, and survived her only child and only
grandchild. She died at the age of 122 years 164 days in Arles,
France; the same town she was born in. She said that in her younger
years, she met Vincent van Gogh, later describing him as
"dirty, badly dressed and disagreeable."
She was the
Decades: 1820s 1830s 1840s 1850s 1860s - 1870s
- 1880s 1890s 1900s 1910s 1920s
Years: 1870 1871 1872 1873 1874 - 1875
- 1876 1877 1878 1879 1880
Izumi (June 29,1865? – February 21, 1986) was a native of
Japan famous for being the oldest living person and oldest living
man in the world. Assuming his claimed birth date correct, he would
have attained an age of 120, years longer than any other known
male, and the second-longest documented lifespan in the world,
less only than that of Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment.
However, subsequent research has cast doubt
on his claim, as what was previously believed to be his birth
certificate may actually have been that of his older brother, who
died young and whose name might have been reused as a necronym. If
so, this would mean he was "only" 105 when he died.
Centuries: 18th century - 19th century - 20th century
Decades: 1810s 1820s 1830s 1840s 1850s - 1860s
- 1870s 1880s 1890s 1900s 1910s
Years: 1860 1861 1862 1863 1864 - 1865
- 1866 1867 1868 1869 1870
and Some Past Notices
Oldest Man Dies at 113 - 2 Weeks before his 114th Birthday
Fred Hale Sr, who
became the world's oldest man on March 5, 2004, at the age of 113
years 95 days, has died. Fred was born on December 1, 1890, and took
the title following the death of Spain's Joan Riudavets Moll. Fred Sr,
from Syracruse, New York, was born in the same year as the Battle of
Wounded Knee, Jack the Ripper was stalking the east end
of London, and Arthur Conan Doyle was just starting to write his
Sherlock Holmes stories.
Supercentenarian Fred lived through 21 US
Presidents, and was in his seventies when Neil Armstrong landed on the
Moon! When he was aged 104, he even had his driving license renewed
(pictured) and continued driving until he was 108!
So, what was Fred's secret for long life? Honey
and bee pollen, he said. A former postal worker and beekeeper, he ate
at least a teaspoon of each every day (washed down with the occasional
breakfast nip of whisky!).
another article ---
Oldest Living Man Dies Days
Before Turning 114, 111-Year-Old Takes Title
End of unusual era when oldest
man and woman were Americans
20, 2004 - The world’s oldest living man, Fred Hale, Sr., died in
his sleep Friday, while battling pneumonia. He would have celebrated
his 114th birthday on Dec. 1. He drew national attention earlier this
year for his devotion to the World Champion Boston Red Sox.
Hale was recognized by the
Gerontology Research Group at the UCLA School of Medicine and the
Guinness Book of World Records on March 5, as the oldest living man,
when he was 113 years and 95 days old. He succeeded Spain's Joan
When told he was the world's
oldest man, he reportedly said, "I don't believe it. And I ain't
going to die just to satisfy them."
Hale was born Dec. 1, 1890 in
New Sharon, Maine. He retired as a railway postal clerk in 1957. He
lived most of his life in Maine. The Guinness record notes that in the
year of his birth the world also saw the Battle of Wounded Knee, Jack
the Ripper stalking London, and Arthur Conan Doyle starting to write
his Sherlock Holmes stories.
Guinness also notes he had
seen 21 U.S. presidents and that he was also recorded as the world’s
oldest driver – his license does not expire until 2008. He was able
to cut the cake at his 113th birthday, according to his 83-year-old
son, Fred Jr.
Hale gave credit for his
longevity to bee pollen and honey that he ate daily. He also enjoyed
an occasional nip of whiskey in the morning, according to the
The oldest living woman
recognized by Guinness is Ramona Trinidad Iglesias Jordan of Puerto
Rico, which meant that, for only the second time ever, the world's
oldest living man and oldest living woman both were U.S. citizens.
to Guinness record page)
Haled died in a suburb of
Syracuse, New York, at below is an excerpt from a column about him by
Syracuse Post-Standard columnist Sean Kirst.
“Around the world, Fred Hale
Sr. will be eulogized in this way: The oldest man in the world was a
Boston Red Sox fan who kept waiting, year after year, to see his team
win it all.
“This autumn, barely a month
short of his 114th birthday, Hale finally got to enjoy that Red Sox
title. He died in his sleep Friday at The Nottingham in DeWitt, just
23 days after that World Series triumph, as if it left him free to say
“It makes for one more
fitting tale about these already legendary Sox, except that it isn't
“Yes, Hale cared about the
team. But it would be inaccurate to say the Red Sox were his greatest
passion. Hale, for instance, did not specifically remember the last
Red Sox championship in 1918, a World Series played when he was 27
years old. He came to his loyalty later in his life, and he began to
follow the Red Sox for the most familiar of reasons:
His wife, Flora, was a fan.
Until her death in 1979, she'd often listen to the games in the living
room of their home in Maine. Their five children joined the Red Sox
nation due mainly to their mother's loyalty. As the children grew up,
Hale noticed the way they all cared about the team, and he ended up
going to his share of games at Fenway Park.
of the column in the Syracuse Post-Standard
Hale outlived his wife and
three of his five children. He had nine grandchildren, nine
great-grandchildren and 11 great-great-grandchildren.
The world’s oldest living
man is now Hermann Dornemann, of Germany, age 111. There are 26 living
women older than him, according to Gerontology Research Group.
A funeral service for Hale
will be held Tuesday at Hobbs Funeral Home in South Portland. He’ll
be buried in Farmington, Maine.
the AP story ---
right, Fred Hale Sr., age 113, and his son, Fred Hale Jr.
(standing) watch the Boston Red Sox in the World Series
on Oct. 27. He was 12 days shy of his 114th birthday. (AP
Photo/Post Standard, Li-Hua Lan, file)
Maine native Fred Hale Sr., at 113 the
world’s oldest man, dies
DEWITT, N.Y. (AP) — Fred Hale Sr., a
Maine native recognized as the world’s oldest man, died Friday. He
was 113 years old.
Hale died in his sleep at The
Nottingham in suburban Syracuse, while trying to recover from a bout
of pneumonia, said his grandson, Fred Hale III. He was 12 days shy of
his 114th birthday.
Born Dec. 1, 1890, Hale last month
watched his lifelong favorite baseball team, the Boston Red Sox, win
the World Series again after 86 years.
Hale retired in 1957 as a railroad
postal worker and beekeeper, his grandson said. He enjoyed gardening,
canning fruits and vegetables and making homemade applesauce.
"He had a routine and he rarely
broke it because anyone else was around," Hale III told The
Post-Standard of Syracuse. "He didn’t need a lot to be
At age 95, Hale flew to Japan to visit
a grandson who was in the Navy. While en route back to the United
States, he stopped in Hawaii and even gave boogie-boarding a try.
At 103, Hale was still living on his
own and shoveling the snow off his rooftop.
He was born in New Sharon, Maine, when
there were only 43 stars on the American flag. He married Flora Mooers
Hale lived in his native Maine until he
was 109, when he moved to the Syracuse area to be near his son, Fred
Jr., now 82.
On March 5, 2004, the Guinness World
Records acknowledged him as the oldest living man when Joan Riudavets
Moll, of Spain, passed away at age 114.
Hale also was a Guinness record-holder
for the oldest driver. At age 108, he still found slow drivers
annoying, Fred Hale III said.
Hale outlived his wife, who died in
1979, and three of his five children. He had nine grandchildren, nine
great-grandchildren and 11 great-great-grandchildren.
Hale credited his longevity to bee
pollen and honey that he ate each day, along with the occasional nip
of whiskey in the morning.
The world’s oldest living man is now
Hermann Dornemann, of Germany, age 111. There are 26 living women
older than him, according to Gerontology Research Group.
A funeral service for Hale will be held
Tuesday at Hobbs Funeral Home in South Portland. He’ll be buried in
person celebrates 114th birthday
retired Dutch needlework teacher with a passion for soccer
and a taste for herring celebrated her 114th birthday
yesterday with a place in the record books as the world's
van Andel-Schipper was declared the world's
oldest woman - and person
- by Guinness World
Records when the previous 114-year-old title holder Ramona
Trinidad Iglesias Jordan of Puerto Rico died last month.
Andel-Schipper, who will celebrate her birthday in a
retirement home in the northern Dutch town of Hoogeveen, was
born in 1890.
white-haired Dutch woman has seen electricity, the
telephone, the car, the plane and space travel transform the
during a life time linking the three centuries, and lived
through two World
local municipality is throwing a birthday party for Van
Andel-Schipper - who has become the town's biggest celebrity
- at her retirement home. She will also answer questions
from the media at a news conference.
never spends a whole day in bed and her health is still
good. However, her eyesight and hearing are not as good as
when she was 108," Guinness World
frail, white-haired woman, harbours a passion for Dutch
soccer team Ajax Amsterdam and listens to a weekly radio
soccer program although she has not reportedly gone to a
game in decades.
daughter of a rural headmaster, she was born in the town of
Smilde in the northern Netherlands on June 29, 1890.
married a tax inspector in the 1930s and was forced
to sell her jewellery to buy food during the German
occupation in WWII. She was widowed after 20 years of
"I think it is
nice to have lived to be this age. I'm not scared of death.
Everyone has to go. I hope I don't have to suffer, that they
find me dead in bed one day," she told a Dutch
Although a Lebanese
woman who has documents showing she was born in 1877 -
making her at least 126 years old - could be the oldest
person in the world
according to a report earlier this month, Guinness World
Records have not verified this.
is Hendrikje," a spokeswoman for Guinness World
Retired US postal
worker and beekeeper Fred Hale, who was born on December 1,
1890, is the world's
oldest man, according to Guinness World
Records, which collects, confirms and presents information
records around the world.
Person Discovered in War-Torn Chechnya
A woman aged at least 124
years old has been found in the war-torn republic of Chechnya.
Zabani Khachukayeva's passport states that she is 124 years old,
however doctors believe that she may be even older. Apart from
having impaired hearing, she is in relatively good health and says
that she still feels energetic. Khachukayeva has outlived her
eldest son, who died in 2001, and has 24 grandchildren, 38
great-grandchildren, and 7 great-great-grandchildren. Until Ms
Khachukayeva was found, the title of the world's oldest living
person was held by 113 year old Japanese silkworm breeder Yukichi
SOURCE/REFERENCE: Reported by
www.guardian.co.uk on the 30th July 2003.
oldest person dies
NORTH LIMA, Ohio (AP) May 16, 2004 -
Charlotte Benkner, recognized as the world's second oldest person,
has died. She was 114.
Benkner died Friday at St. Elizabeth
Hospital in Youngstown, John Sheridan of Fox Funeral Home in the
Youngstown suburb of Boardman, said Sunday. He did not have a
cause of death. Her nephew's wife, Mary O'Hare, said Sunday that
Benkner had been in the hospital for the past two-and-a-half
The Guinness Book of Records recognized
Benkner as the oldest person in the world in November, but it
replaced her with a Puerto Rican woman last month.
Benkner and her husband of 56 years,
Karl, had no children.
oldest person dies at 114
13 — A 114-year-old Japanese
woman who had assumed the title of the world’s oldest person
last month died Thursday, a spokesman for Hiroshima city said.
woman assumed title
only two weeks ago
MITOYO KAWATE, born on May 15, 1889, died
November 13, 2003 of pneumonia at a local hospital, said Masatoshi
Yamada. Kawate was hospitalized earlier in the day when her
London-based Guinness World Records
recognized Kawate as the oldest person alive on Oct. 31 after the
previous holder, Kamato Hongo from southern Japan, passed away.
Kawate, who had four children, was a
farmer in Hiroshima until she was 100 years old, Yamada said. She
is survived by a son and a daughter, but Yamada did not have
details about grandchildren or other relatives.
Kawate had a weakness for custard cakes
and liked to sing, but her condition had weakened in the past two
years, a caretaker said earlier this month. She had been living in
a nursing home for the past 10 years.
The family of an Albanian woman said to
be 123 years old had also claimed the title, and had tried to get
Guinness World Records to recognize her as the oldest woman before
her death earlier this month.
Hava Rexha, was born on Aug. 14, 1880,
but didn’t receive a birth certificate until 1946. She lived
south of Albania’s capital of Tirana and died last weekend.
Japan has lost three world record holders
for longevity in recent months. Hongo’s death was preceded by
the death of the world’s oldest man, 114-year-old Yukichi
Chuganji, on Sept. 29.
After Kawate’s death, Ura Koyama, a
113-year-old woman from the southern main island of Kyushu, became
Japan’s oldest person. Koyama was born Aug. 30. 1890.
Kameni Nakamura, 109-year-old man in
Okinawa prefecture, is Japan’s oldest man.
Japan leads the world in longevity thanks
in part, experts say, to the traditional Japanese diet which is
low in fatty foods.
The country’s life expectancy — 85.23
years for women and 78.32 for men in 2002 — is the longest in
Japanese woman believed to be the world's oldest person has died
Kamato Hongo died in
hospital on Friday, one of her grandsons said.
Mrs Hongo, who lived
on the island of Tokunoshima in southern Japan, had been bed-ridden
for some time.
She had seven
children and at least 27 grandchildren.
The world's oldest
person is now believed to be 114-year-old Mitoyo Kawate, a Japanese
woman living in Hiroshima.
Mrs Hongo was
well-known throughout Japan for her habit of sleeping for two days
and then staying awake for two days.
Her grandson Tsuyoshi
Karauchi, who lived with her, told the BBC last month that sleeping
was a favourite pastime for his grandmother.
"We even feed
her in her sleep," he told the East Asia Today programme.
Mr Karauchi said his
grandmother, like a lot of other elderly people, ate miso soup, rice
Asked about the
secret of her longevity, he said: "She was brought up in a good
environment, ate healthy local food. She survived the war but apart
from that it's been a peaceful happy life."
She has never smoked,
he said, "but she did start drinking about 20 years ago in her
Japanese have the
longest life expectancy in the world. Their diet of fish and green
vegetables is thought to contribute to their longevity.
predicting a crisis in the state pension system within a few years,
because the benefits being paid out far exceed payments being made
Elizabeth "Pampo" Israel
Born January 27, 1875 in Dominica, West Indies
14th October, 2003
Elizabeth "Pampo" Israel Passes Away
About Ma Pampo
January 27th, 1875, was the
date that Dominica saw the birth of its most illustrious
daughter, Elizabeth Israel. According to official records of The
Roman Catholic Church (Roseau Diocese), Magdeline Israel, mother
and an undocumented father gave birth to baby Elizabeth.
Although Elizabeth's mother resided on The Colihaut Estate
situated on the west coast of Dominica, she while in an advance
state of her pregnancy with Elizabeth; migrated (by foot) to an
area of The Picard Estate called Tibay. It was in Tibay that
"Pampo" was born and being the first of her mother's
six children, she enjoyed the luxury of their trash covered,
"Pampo" grew up to be the second mother of the family
making way for her mother to continue her duties as a laborer on
the Picard Estate, where she worked for less than a penny a day.
It was not long however, at the age of 12 that Elizabeth who was
then a student at the Portsmouth School, joined the labour force
on the same Estate. School days for "Pampo" was over
and it was survival time. The years were long, time was hard but
with determination, sweat, and courage "Pampo"
persevered. Her direct quotes will fully disclose those years of
126 years after her birth, (soon to be 127 in a couple of
weeks), this lady is still alive and well. Pampo the world's
oldest, ever documented human, currently resides in Glanvillia,
A Special Visit
In July, several residents of
the Roseau Infirmary had an outing to Portsmouth and stopped in
for a visit with Ma Pampo.
Miss Flora Smith
(91) greets Mrs. Elizabeth "Ma Pampo" Israel (126)
Photo by Sister Catherine. © 2001 All RIghts Reserved.
Objectives and Purposes of the Pampo
The Pampo Foundation is a non-profit charity geared at promoting
mainly the long life mystery of Elizabeth "Pampo" Israel
and other Dominican centenarians.
Pampo, who was born on the 27th day of January 1875, is the
World's oldest ever documented human (according to Neil Haynes -
Spokesman for Guinness World Records in London, although Guinness
has not conferred that official title on her) and the foundation
will frantically promote her as a genuine gem and a real wonder in
the Nature Isle.
The foundation will also promote Pampo as a Dominican Treasure and
no efforts will be speared at capitalizing on her amazing
achievement. Pampo is indeed a hero and advancements will be made
at endorsing her as a certified National Emblem in whose honor a
National Holiday should be declared. The Foundation will also seek
to advise that Pampo be awarded the highest Award in the Island of
Dominica (The meritorious Award).
The foundation expects to work with Government to ensure coherence
in the promotion of this stalwart woman and will make
representations on her behalf at every forum.
The foundation will work for or towards the long term good of
Pampo, her generation and the other Dominican centenarians and
their relatives at all times.
The foundation will endeavour to coordinate all media releases,
promotion and other such activities on behalf of Pampo and will
responsibly inform her relatives and friends of its every
The foundation will lobby on the behalf of Pampo at all times for
any and every benefit associated with such a long life feat
including official recognition by Guinness World Record and other
such organizations. Each year, the foundation will organize a
Cultural Exposition honor of Pampo, to coincide with her birthday.
It will be the responsibility of the foundation to embark on a
full-scale program of education with respects to the amazing facts
about Pampo and the other Dominican centenarians such as Rose
Peter from Glanvillia who was born on February 21st 1893 and had
survived 118 years to the date of the foundation. The Foundation
will also pay very close attention to Rose Peters, she being the
second oldest person in Dominica and the world. Her legacy is also
very important to Dominica and we will promote her alongside Pampo
and our other major long life achievers.
Education is key of the Pampo Foundation with its target
demographics being School age children, students at all levels and
other interest groups. In that light, the foundation has so far
embarked on a Caribbean Tour of High School in selective Countries
from Anguilla to Trinidad and Tobago, beginning September 14th
2001. The exercise dubbed Healing 2001 will be the yet another
bold venture at establishing the facts about Pampo.
The primary long-term goal of the foundation would be to publish a
hard cover book entitled QUEEN PAMPO in her honor; other
centenarians will be captioned in that publication. The most
ambitious project will however be a history School or Fortress
(The Pampo History Fortress). We expect that such a fortress would
be built on a portion of the land in Glanvillia where Pampo had
resided for over half a century.
The foundation will comply with all the applicable laws of the
Commonwealth of Dominica and the United States of America as
pertains to such non-profit organization.
January 29, 2003
Oldest Person Turns 128
yesterday celebrated the birthday of the World’s oldest
living person Elizabeth (Ma Pampo) Israel who turned 128
even as government vowed to increase pressure on Guinness
World record officials to officially confer the title on
Unfortunately, the Guinness World record has not
officially recognized Ma Pampo since they are still in the
process of verifying the claim. A Baptismal certificate
has been issued by the Roman Catholic Church with her
birth date stated as January 27, 1875, but since it is not
an official record, it cannot be used to authenticate the
The claim was further thrown into doubt when it was
learned that at some point in her life she was called
Minetta George. Guinness officials have said that it is
important to clarify these various issues before the title
can be conferred. Given the state of record keeping during
that time in Dominica, it may be difficult to collect
collaborative evidence to substantiate the claim.
At the age of 128, Elizabeth (Ma Pampo) Israel is
considered the World’s oldest living person. Born in
Portsmouth, Dominica, and the daughter of a slave, she
started working on a plantation at the age of 25 and
retired 79 years later. Ma Pampoo ascribes her longevity
to her diet--including lots of dumplings and bush tea. She
has survived her husband and two children.
There are at least seventeen centenarians in Dominica
(with four residing in close proximity to Ma Pampo), from
a population of 70,000 making it the country with the
highest concentration of centenarians per 1000 of the
Dominica’s pristine, largely untouched and unspoilt
environment, which lies largely unpolluted, has been cited
as the main reason for longevity on the Island.
Tuesday, June 1, 2004 Posted: 1:38 AM EDT (0538 GMT)
Ramona Trinidad Iglesias Jordan was born in 1889.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) --
Ramona Trinidad Iglesias Jordan, who at age 114 was recognized as
the world's oldest person, has died after a bout with pneumonia,
her family said Monday.
Iglesias died Saturday in a nursing home
in San Juan, said Rene Matos, a great nephew who lives in El Paso,
Texas. She was three months from turning 115.
"I was hoping she could make it to
her 115th birthday, but it was impossible," Matos said by
telephone from Texas. "She was in the hospital about four or
five days, and the day after she was released she died in the
Iglesias earned the distinction in April
when Guinness World Records declared her the world's oldest living
woman after a check of documents.
A baptismal certificate showed Iglesias
was born August 31, 1889, while a birth certificate issued in 1948
showed her birth date as September 1, 1889.
Fred Hale Sr., 113, of Syracuse, N.Y., is
listed by Guinness as the world's oldest man. He was born on
December 1, 1890.
Her death could make Hendrikje van
Andel-Schipper, 113, of the Netherlands the oldest living person,
according to news reports. She was born in Smilde on June 29,
Matos, 64, said he thinks her longevity
stemmed from her having "a very easy life -- easy in the
sense that she didn't have too much to worry about."
Her husband was a bank manager in the
1940s and '50s who passed away in the 1970s, Matos said. They
never had any children and lived peacefully, he said.
She enjoyed a beer with meals, Matos
"Even when she was over 100 years,
every time we took her out to a restaurant, she always liked to
have a beer, a small beer, a 7-ounce beer with the food," he
said. "That was the first thing she asked for when she got to
Iglesias was born near the end of Spanish
rule in Puerto Rico, which was seized by the United States in
stakes claim as world's oldest
March 7, 1997
Web posted at: 1:41 p.m. EST (1841 GMT)
BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Spry Frenchwoman
Jeanne Calment has been drawing much of the media spotlight as of
late with her claim to the title of world's oldest person at the
tender age of 122. But she may have met her elder in Lebanese farmer
Ali Mohammed Hussein.
An identity document issued by the Lebanese
government shows that Hussein was born in 1862, which would make him
135 years old. If accurate, that would mean he was already a
teen-ager when Calment came into the world. Hussein would also be 21
years older than Christian Mortensen of Denmark, who currently
claims the title of world's oldest man at age 114.
A charcoal burner and farmer, Hussein says
he was born in Qinieh, a village about 90 miles (150 km) north of
Beirut in the rocky uplands of northern Lebanon. His wife, Amsha, is
90, and, according to his oldest son, Hussein has at least 93 direct
Hussein's identity document is based on a
compilation of population statistics made by the Lebanese government
in 1932. It is registered in the Interior Ministry's records, but
its authenticity could not be independently verified.
Web posted at: 9:47 a.m. EDT (1347 GMT)
France (CNN) -- Jeanne Calment, believed to be the world's
oldest person, died Monday at age 122, according to her retirement
home. No precise cause of death was given for Calment, who died in
the retirement home where she spent the last 12 years of her life.
According to her birth certificate, Calment
was born on February 21, 1875, about 10 years after U.S. President
Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. She entered the Guinness Book of
Records in 1993 as the oldest living person whose birthdate could be
authenticated by reliable records.
Over the years, she became the biggest
attraction in Arles since Vincent Van Gogh's visit to the town in
1888. She met Van Gogh as a girl, when the artist came to shop at
her father's art supplies store, and remembered him later as
"dirty, badly dressed and disagreeable."
She outlived her husband, Fernand Calment,
who died in 1942, four years before their 50th wedding anniversary.
She also outlived her only child, a daughter who died in 1934, and
her only grandson, a doctor who died in 1963.
She also outlived a lawyer who hoped to
take possession of her apartment. She lived mostly off the income
from the apartment, which she sold cheaply more than 30 years ago to
Andre-Francois Raffray with the understanding that he would take
possession of it when she died.
He died more than a year ago at age 77
after paying $184,000, double the apartment's market value, for the
property; his family was required to keep making the payments.
Though blind, nearly deaf and in a
wheelchair, Calment remained spirited and mentally sharp until the
That was clear to those who attended her
121st birthday, when she released her CD, "Time's
Mistress," which featured her reminiscing to a score of rap and
At 85, she took up fencing lessons. At 100,
she was still riding a bicycle.
And she when she finally gave up smoking
two years ago, her doctor said she quit not for health reasons, but
because she could no longer see well enough to light her cigarettes,
and didn't want to ask someone to do it for her.
Calment credited her longevity to Port
wine, a diet rich in olive oil, and her sense of humor. "I will
die laughing," she predicted.