CNN reports, Okawa passed away Wednesday morning in Osaka, Japan, Tadahi Uchimura, a local official from the city told CNN.
Her family ran a Kimono shop in Osaka, Satoshi Yoshioka, an employee at the nursing home where she had lived since 1997 told CNN.
“She was a person with mild character, and loved to eat so much. Her favorite food was sushi and udon noodles,” Yoshioka said.
“She had eaten a lot of cake for her birthday last March 5. ”
— AR Democrat-Gazette (@ArkansasOnline) April 1, 2015
Oldest living people: Gertrude Weaver takes #1 spot.
Just 9 left who were born during reign of Queen Victoria pic.twitter.com/DRJqiDTJuU
— Jay Borselle (@JayWBZ) April 1, 2015
“However, in the last 10 days she stopped eating. I think eating was her motivation to live, and when she lost it, she passed away.”
Okawa is the verified oldest Japanese person ever, the oldest person ever born in Asia, and the fifth oldest verified person ever recorded. Okawa was the 30th person verified to have reached age 115, the tenth verified person to reach the age of 116 and the fifth verified person to reach the age of 117. She was also the last living Japanese person to have been born in the 1800s.
On February 27, 2013, a few days before her 115th birthday, she was officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest living woman in the world and was presented with a certificate at her nursing home in Osaka
Okawa died on April 1, 2015, less than a month after her 117th birthday.
She left behind three children, four grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
Japan is home to more than 58,000 people aged 100 or over, according to government figures, 87% of whom are women. The country’s elderly population is expected to soar in the coming decades. About a quarter of its 127 million people are 65 or over, and the proportion is expected to grow to about 40% by the middle of the century.
According to Guiness World Records, the oldest person ever was Jeanne Louise Calment, who died at age 122 in 1997.