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Wednesday, 20 March, 2002, 08:41 GMT
World's oldest woman dies
Japanese woman Kamato Hongo with daughter Shizue Kurauchi, 78
Kamato Hongo is now the world's oldest person at 114
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By Rob Watson
BBC Washington correspondent

The woman recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest living person in the world has died.

Maud Farris-Luse was 115 years old and died in Michigan in the American Mid-West.

She was born on 21 January, 1887 in Morley, Michigan.

She is said to have been old enough to remember her first move, by horse-drawn carriage, to neighbouring Indiana in the 1890s.

It was there she met her first husband, a farmer, with whom she had seven children.

Only one has outlived her.

Ordinary life

She is described as having been a wonderful woman, loved by her family and always happy.

In most ways her life was decidedly ordinary - working at one time as a factory clerk, a hotel maid and a cook - ordinary that is, apart from her amazing longevity.

She is said to have been mentally alert until she was 110 and still enjoyed visits despite suffering from failing health.

During her lifetime she saw 22 presidents serve in the White House - more than half the presidents since the US was founded - and was 33 years old when women got the right to vote.

She never smoked or drank, but the real secret to her long life may have been down to her favourite hobby - fishing.

See also:

04 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Japan has oldest man in the world
05 Jan 02 | Europe
World's 'oldest man' dies
06 Jun 01 | Europe
World's oldest woman dies at 115
23 Jan 00 | Asia-Pacific
World's oldest twin dies at 107
14 Jan 02 | Americas
Hemingway's 'Old Man' dies in Cuba
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