Luo Meizhen, born in Guangxi in 1885, has died aged 127 years old. She was the world’s oldest woman, and may have been the oldest person ever to have lived.
Though official documents said that Luo was born in 1885, international authorities, including Guinness World Records, never recognised her claim to be the oldest person ever to have lived. China did not have a reliable birth certification system at the end of the nineteenth century, and though Luo’s birth date was listed on her hukou and identity card, both where issued in recent decades.
Luo, who lived in a remote village in Guangxi province, had five children, one of whom she allegedly gave birth to aged 61.
Guinness World Records officially recognises Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment as the oldest person to have ever lived. Calment died in 1997 aged 122 years and 164 days.
“She was 127 when she died, it wasn’t unexpected,” her grandson Huang Heyuan told AFP.
Jiroemon Kimura, the oldest man to have ever lived, also died this month. Kimura passed away in his home in Kyotango, Japan. He was 116.
The title of oldest living person passes to Misao Okawa, also from Japan, who was born on March 5, 1898. 20 of the 55 people over the age of 110 living today are from Japan, where life expectancy at birth is 83 years.
Luo’s county in Guangxi is famous for its residents’ longevity. Bama Yao Autonomous County had 81 centenarians in 2011, a rate of 31.7 per 100,000 people, far higher than the global average, which is 7.5 centenarians per 100,000 people.