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Kane Tanaka, world's oldest person, dies at age 119

Kane Tanaka, who was honoured as the world's oldest living person by Guinness World Records. Picture: AP

Kane Tanaka, who was honoured as the world's oldest living person by Guinness World Records. Picture: AP

Published Apr 25, 2022

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The world's oldest person has died aged 119 years old.

Kane Tanaka - who was born on January 2, 1903 died at a hospital in Fukuoka city, western Japan, on April 19, Japan's state broadcaster has confirmed.

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Local governor Seitaro Hattori said: "I was looking forward to seeing Kane-san on this year's Respect for the Aged Day [a national holiday in September] and celebrating together with her favourite soda and chocolate.

"I am extremely saddened by the news. (sic)"

Kane – who previously owned a noodle shop – had lived at a nursing home, where she had been partial to eating chocolate, consuming fizzy drinks, and playing board games, including Othello, among other activities.

Her family wrote in a tweet on April 13 that she had been “hospitalised and discharged repeatedly”.

She reached the age of 119 in January this year, and in a Twitter message posted by her family, she said: "I was able to come this far with the support of many people. I hope you will continue to have fun, [and be] cheerful and energetic."

Kane's death comes just a few years before she would've become the oldest woman ever.

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Jeanne Louise Calment – who was born in France on February 21, 1875 and died on August 4, 1997 – still holds the title after she died aged 122 years and 164 days.

The oldest male ever is Kane's fellow compatriot Jiroemon Kimura, who was born on April 19, 1897, and died on June 12, 2013, aged 116 years and 54 days.

Kane was confirmed by the Guinness World Records as the oldest person living in 2019.

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She was due to take part in the Tokyo Olympics torch relay in 2021 in a wheelchair, but the coronavirus pandemic prevented her from doing so.

Her birth year, 1903, was the same year the Wright Brothers – Orville Wright and Wilbur Wright – flew for the first time, and physicist and chemist Marie Curie became the first-ever woman to win a Nobel Prize.

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