Kamato Hongo

Died October 31st, 2003

TOKYO - Kamato Hongo, a Japanese woman believed to have been the world's oldest person, died Friday. She was 116.

Born in 1887, Hongo was recognized as the world's oldest by the Guinness Book of Records after an American woman Maude Farris-Luse died in March at the age of 115.

Her doctor, Kiyoshige Niina, said she died of pneumonia.

Hongo was famous throughout Japan for her habit of sleeping for two days and then staying awake for two days.

She had been hospitalized in Kagoshima, on the southern island of Kyushu on Oct. 8, after complaining of loss of appetite and fever. She appeared to have been recovering when her condition worsened Friday, Niina told a news conference.

Raised on a small, rural island on Japan's southern fringe, Hongo grew up tending cows and farming potatoes. The same island also produced the Japanese record-holder for longevity, a man, Shigechiyo Izumi, who died in 1986 at the age of 120.

Hongo symbolized the graying of Japan's society a trend that elicits both pride and concern.

Picked by Mrs Atti Tude.