Emma Morano, the world’s known oldest person and the last surviving child of the 19th century, died at the age of 117 on Saturday at her home in northern Italy.
Morano was born four years before the Wright brothers first took to the air on November 29, 1899.
She lived 117 years and 137 days as her life spanned three centuries, two World Wars and more than 90 Italian governments.
Dr. Carlo Bava said that Morano's caretaker had called him to say she had stopped breathing in the afternoon while sitting in an armchair at her home in Verbania, a town on Italy's Lake Maggiore.
"She reached an incredible finish line," said Silvia Marchionini, mayor of the town of Verbania.
Last November, Morano said on her 117th birthday "my life wasn't so nice."
She began working in a factory making jute bags when she was 16. Then she worked at a hotel, working way beyond the usual retirement age.
"I worked in a factory until I was 65, then that was that," she said.
In an interview with La Stampa newspaper five years ago, she said after her fiance had died in World War I, she had been forced to marry a man she did not love.
"'Either you agree to marry me or I will kill you'," Morano said, recalling his proposal. "I was 26. We got married."
"I separated from him in 1938. I think I was one of the first in Italy to do that."
Morano outlived all her eight brothers and sisters, including one who died at 102.
"Eat three eggs a day"
Emma Morano thrived on an unorthodox, unbalanced diet.
"When I first knew her she used to eat three eggs a day. Two raw, and one fried. Today, she has slowed down a bit, reducing the number to two some days because she says three can be too much," her doctor, Carlo Bava, said last year.
"She has never eaten much fruit or vegetables. Her characteristic is that she always eats the same thing, every day, every week, every month and every year."
Some doctors had warned her against eating three eggs daily, but she ignored their advice.
Marchionini, the mayor of Verbania, told the Italian news agency AGI that her city has more than 20 people aged over 100.
A woman in Jamaica, Violet Brown, who was born in that Caribbean island on March 10, 1900, is now considered the oldest known person in the world, according to a list kept by the Gerontology Research Group.