Longevity

101 Facts About Ageing #9: The World’s Oldest Person

Posted on 11 July 2021

As Daniel Patrick Moynihan, an American sociologist, politician, and diplomat once said: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts”. And we wholeheartedly agree. A shared set of facts is the first step to building a better world with longevity for all. In that spirit, we are creating a series that covers 101 indisputable facts about ageing, health and longevity.

As of the time of writing, the world’s oldest verified living person is Kane Tanaka at age 118. She was born prematurely on the 2nd of January 1903, in a village in Japan’s southern island of Kyushu. She was alive when the Wright brothers first flew and when NASA’s Ingenuity flew on Mars, and she reached retirement age before humans first walked on the moon. She had planned to carry the Olympic torch when it passed through her city during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, but withdrew due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.

Kane Tanaka: World's oldest woman celebrates her 117th birthday | World  News | Sky News
Kane Tanaka celebrating her 117th birthday.
Source

Since 2018, Kane has been living in a nursing home, and was reportedly still in good health on her 118th birthday. She has said that she would like to live to the age of 120. She has lived through two global pandemics – Spanish flu in 1918 and COVID-19 – and has also survived cancer twice. She underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer at age 45, and then for colorectal cancer at age 103. For her exceptional longevity, she credits family, sleep, hope, good food, and mathematics – solving arithmetic problems is one of her hobbies.


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