Rest in Peace Besse.
The woman listed by the Guinness World Records as the oldest living person on the planet died peacefully yesterday.
Besse Cooper passed away at the grand old age of 116 at her nursing home in the state of Georgia in the US on Tuesday of this week.
The mother of four taught until her first child was born in 1929, all four children are still alive and in good health. Her remarkable age meant that Besse lived in three centuries, and it’s hard now to appreciate now how many changes the world has seen since Besse’s birth back in 1896.
Her son Sidney Cooper, 77, speaking to Reuters, said: “She looked real good when she passed away,” adding that Besse died quietly and without suffering.
Besse pictured with her grandson Paul, 42, at a Guinness ceremony last year
“She got up this morning, had a big old breakfast and got her hair fixed… “It’s just like she got up planning to do it”, Sidney is quoted as saying.
Bad news if you want to follow suit though, cheeky treats and gossip are off the table. Speaking to Guinness earlier this year Besse responded to questions about the secret to a long life with: “I mind my own business. And I don’t eat junk food.”
This week her son Sidney said that he believed his mother’s best years were in her 80s and that he would always remember her with her straw hat on, working in the flower garden.
Besse Cooper was certified as the world’s oldest person by Guinness World Records in January 2011.