Besse Cooper died peacefully Tuesday afternoon in Monroe, according to her son Sidney Cooper. Monroe is about 45 miles east of Atlanta.
Cooper said his mother had been ill over the weekend with a stomach virus, then felt better on Monday. On Tuesday he said she had her hair set and watched a Christmas video, but later had trouble breathing. He said she was put on oxygen in her room and died there about 2 p.m.
She was declared the world’s oldest person in January. In May, Guinness World Records learned that Maria Gomes Valentin of Brazil was 48 days older. Valentin died June 21.