Woman listed as world's oldest person dies in United States at 116

MIAMI Wed Dec 5, 2012 11:42am IST

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MIAMI (Reuters) - A 116-year-old woman listed by Guinness World Records as the oldest living person anywhere around the globe died on Tuesday in a nursing home in the U.S. state of Georgia soon after having her hair done.

Besse Cooper died peacefully at the Park Place nursing home in Monroe, Georgia, according to her son Sidney Cooper.

"She looked real good when she passed away," the 77-year-old Cooper told Reuters, saying his mother died quietly and without suffering.

"She got up this morning, had a big old breakfast and got her hair fixed," he said. "It's just like she got up planning to do it."

He said his mother, who taught school until her first child was born in 1929, had four children. All of them survived her and are still in good health, he said.

"She lived in three centuries. Don't many people do that," said Cooper. He added that his mother died after a brief bout of breathing trouble that put her back in bed after lunch.

Besse Cooper was first certified as the world's oldest person by Guinness World Records in January 2011.

The title was stripped from her for a few months when it was discovered that Brazilian-born Maria Gomes Valentim, a fellow super centenarian, was 48 days older. Guinness gave the title back to Cooper after Gomes Valentim died in June 2011.

(Reporting By Tom Brown; editing by Christopher Wilson)

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