LISBON, Portugal (AP) - Officials report the death at 115 of a woman who lived to see five of her great-great grandchildren born and is believed to have been the world's oldest person living.
Maria de Jesus died in an ambulance near the town of Tomar.
The title nows falls to an American, 114-year-old Gertrude Baines, who lives in a Los Angeles nursing home.
UCLA gerontologist Stephen Coles says there are now only 82 women and nine men who have been verified through birth certificates or other records as being 110 or older.
Dr. Coles says the supercentenarians appear to share one trait that might account for their longevity - they come from families whose members are long-lived.
Baines was born in Georgia. Coles says she spent most of her life in Ohio where she worked as a dormitory housekeeper at Ohio State University in Columbus. Her only daughter died at age 18.
She uses a wheelchair and is described as mentally sharp.
On the Net:
Guinness Book of World Records: www.guinnessworldrecords.com
Gerontology Research Group: www.grg.org
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)