How the World’s Oldest Person Spent Her Last Day

From silent films to Blu-Ray players, Kitty Hawk to the Mars Rover missions, two World Wars and the literal invention of sliced bread—Besse Cooper was alive for them all.

Cooper, declared the world's oldest living person by Guinness World Records in January 2011, died yesterday at the age of 116 in a Georgia nursing home, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

Prior to her passing, Cooper got her hair done and was getting a jump start on the holiday season by watching a Christmas movie.

She began to have difficulty breathing and was put on oxygen in her room, where she later died, according to her son, Sidney Cooper. He told the AP that his mother's passing was peaceful, and that she, "looked ready to go."

Dina Manfredini, of Iowa, inherits Cooper's crown of world's oldest living person. She is currently 115.

Both Cooper and Manfredini reached impressive ages, but the all-time longevity record is held by Frenchwoman Jeanne Clement. Prior to her death at age 122, Clement was the first person ever documented to have topped 120 years of age.

According to the Houston Chronicle, when asked to divulge the secrets of her long life, Clement was famous for replying, "God must have forgotten me."

French legends have her riding a bicycle up until she officially earned her centenarian status, using olive oil liberally (both on her food and her skin), and consuming several pounds of chocolate per week.

Whatever their secrets, the longevity and relatively good quality of life of these women inspires awe in aging experts and the general public alike.

Discover what science has to say about the secrets of leading a long, healthy life.

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