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TOKYO – A Japanese woman known as the world’s oldest living person, Ken Tanaka, has died at the age of 119, just months before her 120-year goal was reached.
Born on January 2, 1903, Tanaka loved to play the board game Othello and was fond of chocolate and soft drinks. Certified by the Guinness Book of Records as a Oldest person alive in 2019 when she was 116 years old. On several occasions, she has said that she still enjoys life and hopes to live to 120.
Tanaka died at the age of April 19 at a hospital in Fukuoka, her hometown in southern Japan, where she had spent her entire life, city officials said Tuesday. They said that Tanaka, who was living in a nursing home, had only been in and out of the hospital recently.
Fukuoka Governor Setaro Hattori said in a statement that he was shocked and saddened by her loss as he looked forward to celebrating Seniors’ Day later this year in person for chocolate and soft drinks, as he had to miss the occasion last year due to the pandemic.
“I could only see her in a photo showing her with the bouquet and making a ‘peace’ sign (with her fingers), but that cheered me up,” said Hattori. “It gave people hope for a long, healthy life.”
With her death, the oldest human in the world now is Lucille Randon, A French nun known as Sister Andre, 118 years old, according to the Gerontology Research Group. The Japanese Ministry of Health said the new record holder in Japan is 115-year-old Fusa Tatsumi from Osaka.
Japan, whose population is rapidly aging and declining, had 86,510 centenarians, 90% of whom were women, according to the ministry’s latest figures.
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