A 115-year-old Spaniard may be the new dean of humanity

115-year-old Spaniard may be new doyenne of humanity

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A 115-year-old American-born Spanish great-grandmother is the likely new oldest of mankind, a Guinness World Records consultant estimated on Wednesday after the death of the French sister André, 118, who held this title.  

Maria Branyas Morera has been a resident of the Santa Maria del Tura retirement home in the town of Olot in northeastern Spain for 20 years. The care home said it would be hosting a 'small party' behind closed doors in the coming days to 'celebrate this very special event'. 

“She is in good health and is surprised and grateful for the interest aroused”, specifies the establishment.

Senior gerontology consultant for Guinness World Records, Robert D. Young, said Ms Morera being the new oldest human being was “probable”. “But it is not confirmed at this time,” he wrote in an email to AFP.

The Guinness organization must make an official decision after checking official documents and interview with Ms. Morera's family, said Young, who is also director of the Gerontology Research Group's Supercentenarian Research Database.

Maria Branyas Morera survived the 1918 flu pandemic (also called the Spanish flu), two world wars and the Spanish Civil War. 

Centenarian's youngest daughter, Rosa Moret, 78 years, praised the good health of his mother, due according to her to “genetics”.

“She never went to the hospital, she never broke anything”, has said Rosa Moret on Wednesday on Catalan regional television. 

Maria Branyas Morera was born in San Francisco (western United States) on March 4, 1907, shortly after her family originally from Spain moved from Mexico to the United States.

Her family then moved to New Orleans (southern United States) in 1910, before returning to Spain in 1915. In 1931, she married a doctor, who died at the age of 72. 

She had three children — one of whom is already deceased —, 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

The French sister André, born Lucile Randon on February 11, 1904 in Alès, in the south of France, was since April 2022 the dean of known humanity. She died in her sleep on the night of Monday to Tuesday in her retirement home in Toulon, in the south of France.

No official body attributes these titles of dean or dean, but the specialists agreed that Sister André was so far the oldest living person whose marital status had been verified. 

The Guinness Book of World Records also recorded this record on April 25, after the death at the age of 119 of the Japanese Kane Tanaka.