Portuguese woman, listed as world’s oldest person, dead at 115

LISBON, Portugal — A Portuguese woman who lived to see five of her great-great grandchildren born and was believed to have been the world’s oldest person died Friday at the age of 115, officials said.

On Sept. 10

LISBON, Portugal — A Portuguese woman who lived to see five of her great-great grandchildren born and was believed to have been the world’s oldest person died Friday at the age of 115, officials said.

Maria de Jesus died in an ambulance near the central Portuguese town of Tomar, town council officials said.

She had been listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest person. That title now falls to an American, 114-year-old Gertrude Baines, who lives in a Los Angeles nursing home.

Born Sept. 10, 1893, de Jesus was widowed at 57, outlived three of her six children, had 11 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

On Friday, she ate breakfast normally, but then was taken to hospital because of a swelling, her daughter, Maria Madalena, told state news agency Lusa, without elaborating.

De Jesus was 115 years and 114 days old.

“I regret the death of this lady, she really was the sweetest person,” town councillor Ivo Santos said in Tomar, 135 kilometres north of Lisbon.

There are now only 82 women and nine men verified as being 110 or older, according to gerontologist Dr. Stephen Coles of the Gerontology Research Group at the University of California, Los Angeles.

But he said there could be hundreds more in places such as China, India or Africa where they would not have caught the attention of the Gerontology Research Group, a small volunteer organization that tracks supercentenarians and verifies their birth dates through birth certificates and other documents.

Coles said the supercentenarians appear to share one trait that might account for their longevity — they come from families whose members are long-lived.

“Whether they drink alcohol or not, it doesn’t matter. Whether they smoke cigarettes or not doesn’t seem to matter,” he said. “The thing that does seem to matter is that they chose their parents wisely.”

“It’s in the genes. It’s in the DNA,” he said.

Baines — the new titleholder, born in Georgia on April 6, 1894 — spent most of her life in Ohio, where she worked as a dormitory housekeeper at Ohio State University in Columbus, Coles said. Her only daughter died at age 18.

Coles said he asked the staff at Western Convalescent Hospital to tell Baines she is now the oldest living documented person in the world.

“She’s very healthy. Her only complaint, as far as I can tell, is arthritis in her left knee,” he said. She uses a wheelchair.

He described her as mentally sharp, saying “she doesn’t forget anything.”

Baines voted in the November presidential election, the Los Angeles Times reported.

She voted for Barack Obama “because he’s for the coloured people,” said Baines, who is black and the daughter of former slaves.

Just Posted

Councillors want to represent Red Deer at AUMA

City council approves endorsement

Cannabis smoke raises health concerns

Smoke Free Bylaw returns to Red Deer city council Sept. 4

Avid Penhold climber Catlin Hannah’s death a reminder of the dangers of scrambling

Hannah never returned from his Mount Smuts attempt on Aug. 12.

Children, elderly at risk as smoke from distant fires hangs over parts of B.C.

VANCOUVER — Thick smoke blanketing British Columbia communities far from any flames… Continue reading

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Police chiefs want new data-sharing treaty with U.S. as privacy questions linger

OTTAWA — Canada’s police chiefs are pressing the Trudeau government to sign… Continue reading

Pope on sex abuse: “We showed no care for the little ones”

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis issued a letter to Catholics around the… Continue reading

Ottawa announces $189M to extend employment insurance for seasonal workers

ESCUMINAC, N.B. — Ottawa has announced $189 million for an employment insurance… Continue reading

Trudeau formally announces he’ll run again in next year’s election

MONTREAL — Justin Trudeau will run again in the 2019 federal election.… Continue reading

Smoke from B.C. wildfires prompts air quality advisories across Western Canada

VANCOUVER — More smoky, hazy air is expected to blanket much of… Continue reading

Anti-pipeline protesters released days before weeklong jail sentences end

MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. — Several pipeline protesters were released from a British… Continue reading

All eyes on Andrew Scheer as Conservative convention set for Halifax

OTTAWA — After a week of internal caucus squabbles, Conservative Leader Andrew… Continue reading

Trump says his White House counsel not a ‘RAT’ like Nixon’s

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that his White House… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month