She was the eldest of eight children who has outlived all her younger siblings.

Though Morano was only about three months older than Jamaica-born Violet Brown-who turned 117 last month, and now holds the title of oldest living person-Morano was "the world's last living link to the 19th century". "I'm happy she didn't suffer but passed away that way, tranquilly", he said.

Italy was under a monarchy when Emma was young, yet she managed to see the monarchy fall in favor of a republic that produced nearly seventy governments during her life.

FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 file photo, Emma Morano sits in her home on the day of her 117th birthday in Verbania, Italy.

Ms Morano has said that her longevity was partly down to genetics: her mother reached 91 and several sisters reached their centenary. But previous year Rosi Santoni, one of the relatives who helped look after her, said she had plenty of family to care for her and had many friends in the town.

Her first love died in World War I, but she married later and left her violent husband just before the Second World War and shortly after the death in infancy of her only son.

In 2011, she was honoured with the Order of Merit award by the Italian state and on her latest birthday she received the congratulations of both the current head of state Sergio Mattarella and Pope Francis.

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She "abandoned the husband in the fascist era, when women were supposed to be very submissive", Dr Bava said in a 2015 interview. "She had an extraordinary life, and we will always remember her strength to help us move forward in life".

Morano began working in a factory making jute bags when she was 16.

Beside work, she enjoyed herself.

"I didn't want to be dominated by anyone", Morano told the New York Times when she was 115.

She also defied health advice, Dr Bava said Saturday.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School visited her in 2014 as part of a study into immunity to diseases, the Italian news agency ANSA said.

Some doctors had warned her against eating three eggs daily, which she did for years, but she ignored their advice.

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