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In 2023, who will be the oldest living person?

Scientists have put a ceiling on human lifespan at 115 years, but some supercentenarians managed to reach beyond this cut-off.

Research conducted in The Netherlands found that the maximum life for a woman is 115.7 years and 114.1 years for a man. The data was gathered from 75,000 who have died in the past 30 years.

Life beyond 100 is rare enough but only one in 1,000 to have reached the century makes it to 110. It is one of the reasons why the passing of the world’s second oldest woman yesterday (December 12) at age of 116 has taken the internet by storm. 

Farmer’s wife and mother of three Fusa Tatsumi, who was born in 1907, died at a care home in Kashiwara, Osaka Prefecture after eating her favourite meal of jelly bean-paste jelly, according to local media in Japan.

A black and white photo of Fusa Tatsumi taken when she was in her 20s

 A black and white photo of Fusa Tatsumi taken when she was in her 20s

Wikimedia Commons

She was pronounced Japan’s oldest person last year and was known to be exceptionally healthy for most of her life. In fact, she had never been seriously ill or even injured, except for when she broke her thigh bone from a fall in the 1970s.

Fusa and her husband Ryutaro worked long hours in the fields to make ends meet. Her family put her long life down to strenuous physical work undertaken for decades, including carrying baskets of harvested peaches and grapes on her back.

However, stories like Fusa’s remain incredibly rare, even as we head into 2024. Professor John Einmahl told Medical Express: "On average, people live longer, but the very oldest among us have not gotten older over the past 30 years.

“There is certainly some kind of a wall here. Of course, the average life expectancy has increased. Nevertheless, the maximum ceiling hasn't changed."

Jeanne Louise Calment has the record for longest life but died in 1997 at 122 years old. However, some people who are alive in 2023 exceed the glass ceiling set out by the Dutch scientists.

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US-born Spaniard Maria Branyas is 116-years-old and took the title of oldest person in the world earlier in 2023 after the death of Sister Andre at 118 in January.

In 2020, Ms Branyas became the oldest person to be diagnosed with and then recover from the Covid-19 virus.

She has been a widow since 1976 and had three children but one died at the age of 86. She played piano until the age of 108 but now lives in a California nursing home and communicates via a typing platform due to her hearing.

Jeanne Louise Calment (the oldest person ever recorded) attributed her long life to olive oil, port and chocolate, but she was also a cigarette smoker. She died aged 122 in 1997.


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