19th century’s last survivor sets sights on becoming oldest person ever

As a young woman in the roaring 1920s, the world’s oldest living person loved to go singing and dancing. Now 116-year-old Italian Emma Morano’s next challenge is to see in the 2020s and become the oldest human being on record. The last known survivor of the 19th century is enjoying the spotlight after succeeding American Susannah Mushatt Jones, who died last week, as the oldest person on the planet. She has a few more years to go, however, to pass Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at 122 years and 164 days, the oldest recorded age achieved by a human being.

I’m doing fine, who are you?

Emma Morano has a question for reporters who asked after her

The eldest of eight children, Ms Morano was born on November 29, 1899. She has outlived all her younger siblings, the last sister having died five years ago at the age of 102. She puts her longevity down to her daily diet of raw eggs, prescribed as a child to help her beat anaemia, and occasional portions of raw steak mince. She also says it was helped by staying single - she left her violent husband in the 1930s, still mourning for her true love who died during World War I. Now looked after by two elderly nieces with the help of a Colombian carer, Ms Morano cannot walk, does not see well enough to watch TV and has reportedly not left her flat in 25 years.

I’m fine, I’m fine and as long as it stays like that I will remain with you.

Emma Morano, speaking on her 116th birthday