split image of Maria Branyas aged 117 and 116

The world’s oldest living person, Maria Branyas Morera, is now 117 years old.

Maria was born on 4 March 1907 in San Francisco, USA, but returned to Spain with her family when she was eight to settle in Catalonia.

She's lived in the region ever since and has resided in the same nursing home for the past 23 years.

She became the oldest person on Earth in January 2023, following the death of 118-year-old Lucile Randon (France).

Maria Branyas sitting behind birthday cake

"She is very grateful for all the congratulations received and the interest that so many people have shown in her state of health," said Eva Carrera Boix, the director of Maria's nursing home.

"She is happy to be able to celebrate this special day intimately with her family and colleagues and wishes everyone a happy Monday."

Beyond being hard of hearing and having mobility issues, Maria has no physical or mental health problems.

In fact, she's in such good condition that she has agreed to undergo scientific testing by researchers who hope to gain further insight into the secrets to long life.

Scientist Manel Esteller, who has conversed with Maria at length, told Spanish outlet ABC: “She has a completely lucid head. She remembers with impressive clarity events from when she was only four years old, and she does not present any cardiovascular disease, common in elderly people.

“It is clear that there is a genetic component because there are several members of her family who are over 90 years old.”

Samples of Maria’s saliva, blood and urine have been taken and will be compared with those of her 80-year-old daughter. The researchers hope that assessing Maria’s genes will aid the development of drugs which could combat diseases associated with ageing.

Maria Morera worlds oldest person

Befitting her status as the world’s oldest person in the digital age, Maria is active on X (formerly known as Twitter) with assistance from her daughter. Her bio states: “I'm old, very old, but not an idiot.”

In addition to “luck and good genetics”, Maria attributes her longevity to “order, tranquility, good connection with family and friends, contact with nature, emotional stability, no worries, no regrets, lots of positivity, and staying away from toxic people.”

Due to her poor hearing, Maria's family use a voice-to-text device to communicate with her.

She became permanently deaf in one ear when she was a child, after falling while playing with her brothers during the voyage from America to Spain in 1915.

This wasn’t the only misfortune the family suffered aboard the ship – Maria’s father sadly died due to pulmonary tuberculosis towards the end of the journey.

Maria lived through the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 as well as the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), which she said she has “very bad memories” of.

She got married in 1931 to a Catalan doctor named Joan Moret, with whom she had three children.

Her husband passed away in 1976; she has also outlived her only son, August, who died in a tractor accident at the age of 86.

Over a century after the 1918 pandemic, Maria also survived COVID-19 – she contracted the virus a few weeks after turning 113 in 2020 but made a full recovery within days, becoming the world’s oldest COVID-19 survivor. The title was taken later in the year by Lucile Randon, who was three years older than Maria.

Despite admitting that she’s “getting closer and closer to death” in a post on X last month, Maria maintains a positive outlook on life and believes that there is always something new to learn every day, even at her grand old age.

She is now the 12th oldest verified person in history, and should she reach her 118th birthday, she’ll climb up to 5th place. The oldest person ever authenticated was Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who lived to the age of 122 years 164 days.

Want more? Follow us on Google News and across our social media channels to stay up-to-date with all things Guinness World Records! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter/X, Instagram, ThreadsTikTok, LinkedIn, and Snapchat Discover.

Don't forget to check out our videos on YouTube and become part of our group chat by following the Guinness World Records WhatsApp channel.

Still not had enough? Click here to buy our latest book, filled to the brim with stories about our amazing record breakers.