Jeanne Calment – World’s Oldest Person

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The following description was copied from the Wikipedia description of this extraordinary woman:

Jeanne Louise Calment 21 February 1875 – 4 August 1997) was a French supercentenarian who has the longest confirmed human lifespan on record, living to the age of 122 years, 164 days. She lived in Arles, France, for her entire life, outliving both her daughter and grandson by several decades.

Calment was born in Arles on 21 February 1875.[2] Her father, Nicolas Calment (28 January 1838 – 22 January 1931), was a shipbuilder, and her mother, Marguerite Gilles (20 February 1838 – 18 September 1924), was from a family of millers. She had an older brother, François, (25 April 1865 – 1 December 1962). Some of her close family members also lived an above-average lifespan, although none lived anywhere near as long as Jeanne: her older brother François lived to the age of 97, her father to six days shy of 93, and her mother to 86.

Acte_de_naissance_de_Jeanne_Calment

In 1896, at the age of 21, she married her double second cousin, Fernand Nicolas Calment, a wealthy store owner. Their paternal grandfathers were brothers, hence the same surname, and their paternal grandmothers were also sisters.[5] His wealth made it possible for Calment never to have to work; instead she led a leisured lifestyle, pursuing hobbies such as tennis, cycling, swimming, rollerskating, piano, and opera.[2] Fernand died in 1942 at the age of 73 after suffering from a bout of food poisoning.[6]

Their only child, a daughter named Yvonne Marie Nicolle Calment (20 January 1898 – 19 January 1934), produced a grandson, Frédéric Billiot, on 23 December 1926.[5] Yvonne died one day before her 36th birthday from pneumonia, after which Calment raised Frédéric herself.[7] Frédéric became a doctor, but died at age 36 in an automobile accident on 13 August 1963.[5][2]

In 1965, at age 90 and with no heirs, Calment signed a deal to sell her apartment to lawyer André-François Raffray, on a contingency contract. Raffray, then aged 47 years, agreed to pay her a monthly sum of 2,500 francs until she died. Raffray ended up paying Calment the equivalent of more than $180,000, which was more than double the apartment’s value. After Raffray’s death from cancer at the age of 77, in 1995, his widow continued the payments until Calment’s death.

In 1985, Calment moved into a nursing home, having lived on her own until age 110. At the age of 114, she appeared briefly in the 1990 film Vincent and Me as herself, becoming the oldest actress ever to appear in a motion picture.

Calment’s remarkable health presaged her later record. At age 85 (1960), she took up fencing, and continued to ride her bicycle up until her 100th birthday. She was reportedly neither athletic nor fanatical about her health. Calment lived on her own until shortly before her 110th birthday, when it was decided that she needed to be moved to a nursing home after starting a small fire in her house, caused by a cooking accident, which has been attributed to complications with sight. However, Calment was still in good shape, and continued to walk until she fractured her femur during a fall at age 114 years 11 months (January 1990), which required surgery.

Calment smoked cigarettes from the age of 21 (1896) to 117 (1992),though according to an unspecified source, she smoked no more than two cigarettes per day towards the end of her life. She quit smoking, not because of health reasons, but she couldn’t see well enough to light her cigarettes.

Calment ascribed her longevity and relatively youthful appearance for her age to a diet rich in olive oil, which she also rubbed onto her skin, as well as a diet of port wine, and ate nearly one kilogram of chocolate every week. She also credited her calmness, saying, “That’s why they call me Calment.” Calment reportedly remained mentally intact until her very end.

On 4 August 1997, around 10 AM Central European Time Calment died, aged 122.

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