Spain’s Ana María Vela Rubio is now officially the third-oldest person on earth after the
death of Jamaica's Violet Mosse-Brown aged 117-and- a-half. Ana María, if she is still alive
at the end of next month, will be celebrating her 116 th birthday.
Born in Puente Genil, Córdoba province, Ana left school at age 11 and became a seamstress
before moving to Catalunya in the 1940s, where she still lives. Ana was a compulsive
bookworm when her eyesight still allowed her to be, despite her lack of formal education.
She began going to the La Vereda nursing home on a day-centre basis aged 104 and moved
in as a resident aged 109, where she has always been among at least four or five others aged
over 100.
She is not bed-ridden, but every day the staff get her up and put her in a wheelchair and,
although she, like many other residents, eats liquidised food, she ‘eats very well’ and
‘doesn't look her age’, staff say.
Her only surviving daughter, who visits her regularly, is aged 90 – the rest of her children
have died from old age – and her grandchildren are now in their late 60s.
The only two people on earth older than Ana María are Chiyo Miyako, from Japan, who is
five months older than Ana at 116 and four months, and the woman who now takes over
from Violet Brown – Nabi Tajima, also Japanese, who is 117 and one-and- a-half months,
born on 4 th August, 1900.
Jamaican president Andrew Holness confirmed on Twitter this morning that Violet, the last
person alive on earth born when Queen Victoria was on the throne, had died. She was born
on March 10, 1900 and has been the oldest person on the planet since April this year, after
the death of Italy's Emma Morano.
Spain, known for having one of the longest life expectancies on earth – currently 83 for
women and 79 for men – has several residents aged 100-plus in every province and at least
seven of its 17 autonomously-governed regions has one or more residents aged 110 or
more. The country is home to the third-oldest person, and third-oldest woman in the world,
and also the oldest man on the planet, Francisco Núñez Olivera, who fully expects to be
alive on 13th December this year when he is due to celebrate his 113 th birthday.
He became the planet's oldest man in August following the death of Yisrael Kristal from
Israel. Two years ago, he became the oldest in Spain and showed he was still doing
remarkably well for nearly 111. Francisco said back then that he 'would like to live another
couple of years', and so far his wish has come true.
Longevity
Recently, scientists placed the natural limit of human life at 125 years, but nobody is
thought to have lived that long and the world record until now has been Frenchwoman
Jeanne Calment, who died aged 122.
But Mbah Gotho from Indonesia has official documentation to show he was born on 31 st
December, 1870, meaning if he lives until New Year's Eve, he will be 147 years old.
His papers need to be independently verified to award him the title of longest-ever living
human, however – others who have claimed to be older, James Olofintuyi, 172, from
Nigeria and Dhaqabo Ebba from Ethiopia, 164, were unable to prove their age officially so
cannot be considered as world-record holders. To date, Mbah Gotho's papers have not been
authenticated, meaning he is still unable to claim the top spot.