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|Friday, June 16, 2000, updated at 10:58(GMT+8)|
World's Oldest Woman Dies at 129Maria do Carmo Jeronimo, a former slave whose lack of a birth certificate prevented her recognition as the world's oldest woman, has died. Church records list her age as 129. Jeronimo died of a stroke late Wednesday at the University Hospital in Itajuba, 200 miles northwest of Rio, hospital officials said Thursday.
According to baptismal records, Jeronimo was born on March 5, 1871 in the southeastern town of Carmo de Minas, in Minas Gerais state. Brazil then was a monarchy under Emperor Pedro II, and Jeronimo, who was black, was born into slavery.
She was 17 when Brazil finally abolished slavery, but never left Minas Gerais. For six decades she worked as a housemaid for the Guimaraes family, which in recent years tried unsuccessfully to have her recognized by the Guinness Book of Records.
The oldest person ever with authenticated records was Jeanne Calment of France, who died Aug. 4, 1997 at age 122.
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