Five of the world's oldest living people

Misao Okawa from Osaka, Japan, is the oldest living person in the world at 116. -- PHOTO: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES WEBSITE 
Misao Okawa from Osaka, Japan, is the oldest living person in the world at 116. -- PHOTO: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES WEBSITE 

American Alexander Imich, the world's oldest living man, was in the news when he died last Sunday aged 111. But the New Yorker was actually the world's 66th oldest person, with 65 women ahead of him.

There are currently 75 supercentenarians (people aged at least 110) across the globe, according to the Gerontology Research Group. It is in charge of tracking these venerable people.

Over the years, numerous people have claimed to be the oldest people in the world. Just earlier this week, a Bolivian man called Carmelo Flores, who claimed to be 123 years old, died. The lack of official birth certificates in the country before 1940, however, prevented anyone from substantiating his claim.

Here's a list of five famous supercentenarians still alive - verified or not - who have made headlines:

Misao Okawa (116)

Officially the world's oldest living person, the Osaka native was born in March 1898 and is a mother of three, grandmother of four and great-grandmother of six. She married when she was 21 and has been a widow since 1931.

Okawa had previously attributed her amazing longevity to eating sushi, getting eight hours of sleep every day and - bear this in mind, stressed-out folks - relaxing.

The record of the world's oldest living person is still held by Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the age of 122, although Japan is thought to have one of the highest number of over-100s, thanks to a low-fat diet of sushi and fish.

Jeralean Talley (115)

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This supercentenarian, who celebrated her 115th birthday last month, is the second oldest living person in the world and the oldest living American.

Born in the state of Georgia (Talley now resides in Inkster, Michigan), the great-great-grandmother has a 17-strong brood and even received a personalised letter from President Barack Obama for being part of an extraordinary generation.

The feisty Talley reportedly went fishing last year, catching seven catfish, and retorts with her usual line of "It's all in the good Lord's hands and there's nothing I can do about it" when asked about her great age.

Sakari Momoi (111)

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Momoi is expected to succeed Imich as officially the world's oldest man. The former teacher and school principal from the Saitama Prefecture north-west of Tokyo is just a day younger than the American. Should he be validated, Japan will have the world's oldest man and woman.

While Momoi is currently being treated in a Tokyo hospital, he reportedly said last September that he expected to live for at least two more years.

The oldest man in recorded history also hailed from Japan: Jiroemon Kimura who died last year at the age of 116.

Alimihan Seyiti (claims to be 127)

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A government website in Xinjiang, China, says that Seyiti, who lives in Kashgar near the border with Krygzystan, was born on June 25, 1886.

Unfortunately, China's longevity records are not generally recognised internationally and there is no reliable system to certify most births.

The website also claims that she has 56 descendants, loves songs, has a big appetite (can finish a dozen meat buns or 500g of meat in one meal) and is in good health, being still able to do housework.

Premsai Patel (claims to be 118)

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Patel, a retired government teacher in India, claims to be born on May 11, 1896. He lives with four generations of his family, consisting of 50 members, and has three sons.

Without pre-2005 birth or death records available in the remote district he lives in, there is no way to verify his age, although one of his sons has been quoted as saying that Patel hardly falls ill.

Patel has stated that he will undergo a bone test to determine his age.

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