Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Sunday, September 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 72° Partly Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

World’s oldest living person celebrates 117th birthday

Emma Morano wears a sheet reading 117, in the day of her birthday in her home in Verbania, Italy, Tuesday. At 117, Emma is now the oldest person in the world and is believed to be the last surviving person in the world who was born in the 1800s, coming into the world on Nov. 29, 1899. (Antonio Calanni / Associated Press)
Emma Morano wears a sheet reading 117, in the day of her birthday in her home in Verbania, Italy, Tuesday. At 117, Emma is now the oldest person in the world and is believed to be the last surviving person in the world who was born in the 1800s, coming into the world on Nov. 29, 1899. (Antonio Calanni / Associated Press)
By Brian Hendrie and Antonio Calanni Associated Press

VERBANIA, Italy – Italy’s Emma Morano, the world’s oldest living person, marked her 117th birthday Tuesday, blowing out all the candles on her cake.

Beaming at the attention, Morano took in the festivities for her milestone celebration sitting in an armchair in her one-room apartment in the northern town of Verbania, joined by her two elderly nieces, a pair of caregivers and her long-time physician.

She received a greeting from Italy’s president, read by an official, wishing her “serenity and good healthy,” and appeared for a brief live broadcast on state-run television. She happily accepted some gifts, including her favorite cookies, which she ate with some milk.

Then she blew out the candles on her cake – not one for every year, but three numerals to show her age, 117 – and quipped: “I hope I don’t have to cut it!”

To the assembled well-wishers, Morano said, “I am happy to turn 117,” and drew encouragement from her physician, Dr. Carlo Bava.

“Who would have said it?!” the doctor remarked. “When you were young everyone used to say you were weak and sick.”

“Yes, yes,” she responded.

Another party, including a visit from the mayor and another cake, was planned for the afternoon, after a nap.

Morano, who is believed to be the last surviving person in the world born in the 1800s, became the oldest living person in May.

Italy is known for its centenarians – many of whom live on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia – and gerontologists are studying Morano, along with a handful of Italians over 105, to try to figure out their longevity. Bava has credited Morano’s long life to her genetic makeup, “and nothing else.”

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com