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Besse Cooper, world’s oldest person, passes away at 116

In this 2011 file photo, Besse Cooper, sits in her room at a nursing home, in Monroe, Ga.

Her life touched the corner of three different centuries, a remarkable feat that Besse Cooper carried with grace before she passed away at age 116.

As the Associated Press reports, Cooper, declared by the Guinness Book of World Records to be the oldest person in the world, died "peacefully" on Tuesday at her nursing home in Monroe, Georgia.

Cooper's son, Sidney Cooper, told the AP that his mother had recently battled a stomach virus but appeared to be improving on Monday.

On her last day, the supercentenarian had a hair appointment and watched a Christmas film before her breathing became laboured and she was put on oxygen.

She died at approximately 2 p.m.

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Though she was the first person from Georgia to hit the age world record, Cooper was a Tennessee native, born in Sullivan County in August 1896.

Her love of education drew the bright young woman to the teaching profession and the promise of higher wages led Cooper to the Peach State during the World War I era. She married, had children, and remained in Georgia for the rest of her life.

A passionate advocate for equal rights, CNN notes that Cooper joined the suffragette movement in her early 20s where she fought for women's right to vote. She then exercised that right in all subsequent elections, save for two.

Cooper and her husband had four children, who later produced 11 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren. She survived her husband by nearly 50 years, living alone on their farm until, at age 105, she moved into a nursing home.

Dina Manfredini, a 115-year-old woman from Iowa, has picked up the oldest-person mantle following Cooper's death.

It is unknown whether Manfredini also adheres to Cooper's secrets for a longevity, which she described last year to the Walton Tribune as "minding her own business" and nixing all junk food, but that wouldn't be bad advice for anyone at any age.

(Photo courtesy The Associated Press)

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