The 116-year-old Francisca Celsa dos Santos considered the oldest person in Brazil, has died on Tuesday at her home in Fortaleza in the state of Ceará, it was reported Sunday.
Dos Santos passed away of pneumonia just 16 days before her 117th birthday, according to Fernanda Aliny Barroso Celsa, one of her granddaughters.
She was synonymous with love, with the will to live, with everything good that can be imagined, the bond between grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren. Although she could not move and was bedridden a few years ago, there was a void left in every part of the house, she said.
Francisca Celsa dos Santos was born on October 21, 1904, in Cascavel, Ceará, according to the Gerontology Research Group (GRG), an organization founded in 1990 which tracks people over 110 years old and recognized as Guinness Records information source.
The elderly Brazilian woman was the third oldest person in the world, behind the Japanese Kane Tanaka (118 years and 281 days) and the French Lucile Randon (117 years and 241 days), according to the GRG.
A survivor of two pandemics, that of the great flu (also known as the Spanish flu) between 1918 and 1919 and that of covid-19, the woman was buried on Wednesday in Fortaleza, according to G1.
Francesca is the longest-lived South American person ever validated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG), surpassing Maria Capovilla of Ecuador just one day before her death.
Francisca Celsa dos Santos was born to Raimundo Gertrudes dos Santos and Maria Antonia do Espirito Santo in Cascavel, Ceara, Brazil. She claims to have been born on 22 October 1904, but research suggests she was born one day earlier.
Celsa dos Santos worked in household chores, and later as a merchant selling lace cloths. At some point before 1935, she married Raimundo Celso (1905–1979). They had six children, three of whom were still living by 2020. Before the birth of their last child, the couple went to the civil registry office in Pacajus, Ceara to get officially married.
Shortly after her husband's death on 4 September 1979, Celsa dos Santos moved to live with her daughter in Messejana, a neighbourhood in Fortaleza. At the age of 85, she was diagnosed with a malignant tumour, which doctors said she would not survive, so the family took her out of the hospital and decided to treat her with home remedies. Despite the odds, she successfully recovered.
Since 2012, Celsa dos Santos had been unable to walk. As of November 2019, she was cared for by one of her three daughters, Nazete Monteiro (then aged 73), and her granddaughter, Fransilvia. She reportedly did not take any medication and rarely got sick but was not very lucid. Her health was monitored by her grandson, Dr Luziney Monteiro.
Francisca Celsa dos Santos died from pneumonia on 5 October 2021 in Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil at the age of 116 years, 349 days.
Following Celsa dos Santos’ death, Antonia da Santa Cruz became the oldest living person in Brazil and also became the third-oldest living validated person in the world.
Celsa dos Santos's age was officially validated by the GRG on 9 July 2020, when she was 115 years, 262 days old. At the time, this made her the 25th-oldest person ever validated by the GRG. It also meant that she became the oldest Brazilian person ever documented, retroactive to 4 October 2019 when she surpassed the previous record of 114 years, 347 days set by Maria Gomes Valentim. She entered the top-20 oldest validated people ever on 8 December 2020, surpassing the age of Ana Vela-Rubio of 116 years, 47 days.
Celsa dos Santos has been the oldest validated living person in Brazil and South America retroactive to the death of Luzia Mohrs on 16 October 2017. On 4 October 2021, Celsa dos Santos surpassed the final age of Maria Capovilla, becoming the oldest validated South American person ever.
One day later, on 5 October 2021, Francisca Celsa dos Santos died at the age of 116 years, 349 days, just 16 days short of her 117th birthday. She is the oldest validated person to die in 2021 and currently the oldest person to die in the 2020s decade. She is also the oldest validated person to die since the death of Chiyo Miyako on 22 July 2018.