'Luck and good genetics': World's oldest living person turns 117

Maria Branyas Morera photographed in 1925 (left) and again in 2024 (right). Credit: Guinness Book of World Records

The world's oldest living person - Maria Branyas Morera - is celebrating her 117th birthday on Monday.

Ms Morera, who was born on March 4, 1907, received the Guinness Book of World Records title in January 2023, after the death of 118-year-old Lucile Randon from France.

The 117-year-old was born in San Francisco, USA, but returned to Spain with her family when she was eight years old. She has survived two World Wars, two pandemics, and the Spanish Civil War.

She also survived COVID-19 in 2020, but made a full recovery within days.

In addition to “luck and good genetics”, the 117-year-old has attributed her longevity to “order, tranquility, good connection with family and friends, contact with nature, emotional stability, no worries, no regrets, lots of positivity, and staying away from toxic people,” according to Guinness Book of World Records.

Despite poor hearing, and mobility, Ms Morera is in good physical and mental condition, and has agreed to undergo scientific testing by researchers who hope to gain further insight into the secrets to long life.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, scientist Manel Esteller, who has examined the 117-year-old told Spanish outlet ABC: “She has a completely lucid head.

"She remembers with impressive clarity events from when she was only four years old, and she does not present any cardiovascular disease, common in elderly people."

Ms Morera, who also has an account on X, tweeted on Monday: "Good morning, world. Today I turn 117 years old. I've come this far."She is one year closer to beating the the oldest person ever record, which belongs to the Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who lived to the age of 122 years 164 days.

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