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World's Oldest Person Dies at 116 Years Old; What Was Her Secret to Long Life?

May 16, 2016 04:00 AM EDT

The world's oldest person, Susannah Mushatt Jones, passed away last week in New York at 116 years old.

Affectionately called "Miss Susie" by her family and neighbors, Jones died on Thursday night at a Brooklyn public housing facility for seniors, where she had lived for more than 30 years, as per The Associated Press.

The Gerontology Research Group said she had been sick for the past 10 days.

Jones was born in 1899 in Alabama to sharecropper parents, as one of their 11 children. Her grandparents were slaves. She attended a special school for young African-American girls and graduated from high school in 1922. Before leaving for New Jersey and New York to work as a nanny, Jones also worked full time in crop picking with her family.

Jones also set up a scholarship fund for African-American women to attend college. She retired in 1965 but was still active in the house building's tenant patrol until she was 106/

Her family said the secret to her long life was her love of family and generosity to others. For Jones, she had said her secret to longevity was lots of sleep and never smoking and drinking alcohol, as per Reuters.

Jones did not have any children and was only married for a few years.

Her title is now passed on to an Italian woman, Emma Morano-Martinuzzi, who is also 116 years old. Just a few months younger than Jones, Morano-Martinuzzi is now the only living person born in the 19th century.

The Guardian reported that the Italian supercentenarian (110 years old and older) associates her long life to eating three raw eggs a day -- a habit she has been doing since she was a teen -- and being single.

However, experts also said being single does not necessarily translate to longevity, as research also showed that married people live longer than those who do not tie the knot.

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