August 29, 2006

World's Oldest Woman Dies At 116

Maria Esther de Capovilla's family was expecting to celebrate her 117th birthday but last Sunday she died, aged 116, after succumbing to pneumonia.

Capovilla, who lived in the coastal city of Guayaquil, Ecuador, is officially the world's oldest woman.

Born in 1889, the same year as Charlie Chaplin and Adolf Hitler, Capovilla was 22 when the Titanic sank and 79 when astronauts first set foot on the Moon.

Her family said donkey milk might be key to her longevity.

Capovilla was born in Guayaquil to a well-to-do Ecuadorean family which traced its ancestry to the Spanish conquistadores.

She married Antonio Capovilla, an Austrian sailor, in 1917, and was widowed in 1949. [
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