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Sep 11, 2009 4:03 PM by Associated Press

World's oldest person dies in L.A. at 115

Gertrude Baines, who lived to be the world's oldest person on a steady diet of crispy bacon, fried chicken and ice cream, died Friday at a nursing home. She was 115.

Baines, who remarked last year that she enjoyed life so much she wouldn't mind living another 100 years, died in her sleep, said Emma Camanag, administrator at Western Convalescent Hospital.

The centenarian likely suffered a heart attack, said her longtime physician, Dr. Charles Witt. An autopsy was scheduled to determine the cause of death.

"I saw her two days ago, and she was just doing fine," Witt told The Associated Press. "She was in excellent shape. She was mentally alert. She smiled frequently."

Born in 1894 in Shellman, Ga., Baines claimed the title of the world's oldest living person when a 115-year-old woman, Maria de Jesus, died in Portugal in January.

"I'm glad I'm here. I don't care if I live a hundred more," Baines said in November after casting her vote for Barack Obama in the presidential election. "I enjoy nothing but eating and sleeping."

The oldest person in the world is now Kama Chinen, 114, who lives in Japan, according to Dr. L. Stephen Coles of the Gerontology Research Group, which tracks claims of extreme old age. Chinen was born May 10, 1895, Coles said.

The oldest person who has ever lived is Jeanne-Louise Calment, according to Coles. She was 122 when she died Aug. 4, 1997, in Arles, France.

Baines outlived her entire family, including her only daughter, who died of typhoid.

Baines worked as a maid in Ohio State University dormitories until her retirement and has lived at the Western Convalescent Hospital in Los Angeles for more than 10 years.

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