Woman, 116, listed as 'world's oldest' dies in Ga.: Besse Cooper declared oldest person in January

Officials: Iowa woman now world's oldest person

The woman who was listed as the world's oldest person has died in a Georgia nursing home at age 116.

Besse Cooper died peacefully Tuesday afternoon in Monroe, according to her son Sidney Cooper.  
 
Cooper says his mother had been ill recently with a stomach virus, then felt better on Monday. On Tuesday he said she had her hair set and watched a Christmas video, but later had trouble breathing. He said she was put on oxygen in her room and died there about 2 p.m.

According to Guinness World Records, Besse was born in Tennessee in 1896. She moved to Monroe, during World War I in search of work as a teacher.  She married her husband Luther in 1924, and they had four children. She leaves behind 12 grandchildren and more than a dozen great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

"At 116 years and 100 days, Ms Cooper's extraordinary life places her among the ten oldest people ever verified in history, and one of only eight people to reach the age of 116," said Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday in a statement.

Besse was declared the world's oldest person in January. In May, Guinness officials learned that Maria Gomes Valentin of Brazil was 48 days older. Valentin died June 21.
 
A Guinness official says the title now belongs to 115-year-old Dina Manfredini, of Johnston, Iowa.

They  provided few details about the latest record holder. Manfredini was born on April 4, 1897, in Italy. She moved to the United States in 1920.
 
Manfredini currently lives at the Bishop Drumm Retirement Center in Johnston, just north of Des Moines.

A message left for Manfredini and her family was not immediately returned Wednesday.

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