Thursday 23 October 2014

Was she really 132? World's 'oldest ever person' dies in remote Georgian village

John Hall

Published 11/10/2012 | 10:24

Antisa Khvichava attributed her longevity to having a glass of brandy every day

A GEORGIAN woman who claimed to be 132 years old - making her the world’s oldest human being ever - has died.

Antisa Khvichava claimed to have been born on 8 July 1880, and had a Soviet-era passport and documentation to that effect, but her age was contested and never officially proven.

She lived in the remote village of Sachino, in north-west Georgia, with her 42-year-old grandson and claimed to have retired from her job as a tea and corn picker in 1965 when she was 85.

Mrs Khvichava claimed to be just 10 years younger than Russia’s first communist leader Vladimir Lenin, and to have been born a year before the death of the celebrated Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

She said she had 12 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren, and reportedly attributed her longevity and good health to drinking a small amount of local brandy every day.

Mrs Khvichava, who only spoke in the local language Mingrelian, would already have been 31 when the Titanic sunk in April 1912 and 37 during Russia’s October Revolution in 1917. She would have been 61 when the Soviet Union entered the Second World War in 1941 and 111 when the Soviet Union formally came to an end in 1991.

Her original birth certificate is said to have been lost during the years of revolutions and civil wars that ravaged Georgia following the fall of the USSR. But local officials, friends, neighbours and descendants have all back up the claim that she was 132 when she died.

Experts have some doubt over the claims however, as all the documents stating her age were created long after Mrs Khvichava's birth. Without documents dating from the 1880s, researchers said her real age is likely to remain a mystery.

The oldest living person at the moment is 116-year-old Besse Cooper from the state of Georgia in the USA. Her birth can be officially proven to have been in August 1896.

The oldest ever verified person was French woman Jeanne Calment, born in February 1875, who lived to 122 years and 164 days before dying in August 1997. She claimed to have met the artist Vincent Van Gogh when she was a young woman.

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