The world’s oldest person, Kane Tanaka, has died in Japan at the age of 119

FUKUOKA, Japan — Kane Tanaka, the world’s oldest person, has died in Japan at the age of 119, according to a statement released by the country’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

Tanaka, who was born on January 2, 1903, died on April 19, the ministry said.

Guinness World Records said they were saddened to hear of Tanaka’s death and said news of her death had been confirmed by senior gerontology adviser Robert Young, who also helped establish her record as the oldest living person in the year to be confirmed in 2019.

Guinness World Records tweeted about her death: “She became the oldest living person in January 2019 at the age of 116 years and 28 days.

“She is also the second oldest person on record, behind Jeanne Calment who lived to be 122.”

Tanaka’s family said in a tweet earlier this month that she’s been frequently sick and “in and out of the hospital” lately.

Tanaka was born in 1903, married a rice shop owner at the age of 19 and worked in the family shop until she was 103.

She survived cancer twice and lived through a multitude of historical events, surviving two world wars and the 1918 Spanish flu – as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.

WATCH: The French nun celebrates her 117th birthday with wine after surviving COVID-19

CNN previously reported on Tanaka during her preparation to compete in the Olympic torch relay ahead of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.

The plan had been that she would take the blaze while passing Shime in her home prefecture of Fukuoka, but ultimately she didn’t attend due to concerns about Covid-19.

Tanaka lived in a nursing home in Fukuoka. Her family said she kept her mind and body busy by doing math and staying curious.

Tanaka’s great-granddaughter Junko Tanaka set up a Twitter account in January 2020 to celebrate the super centenarian’s life.

She tweeted photos of her great-grandmother enjoying treats like cake and soda, and shared her accomplishments and exchanges with her relatives.

CNN previously reported Junko said of her grandmother, “I might be biased because I’m related to her, but I think it’s kind of amazing — I wanted to share that with the world and for people to feel inspired and feel their joy.” “

In 2020, one in 1,565 people in Japan was over 100 years old – more than 88% of them women. Government figures released in July 2020 showed that women have a life expectancy of 87.45 years, compared to 81.4 years for men.

Announcing Tanaka’s death on its website on Monday, Guinness World Records said that “the titles of oldest living person and oldest living person (female) are under investigation” and that more details would be announced in due course.

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Dais Johnston

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