LONDON The world's oldest woman, who attributed her longevity to whisky and boiled onions, died Thursday six days short of her 115th birthday.
Eva Morris died peacefully in her sleep at a nursing home in the central England town of Stone, staff said.
"She was a grand old lady," said Lesley Powell, the matron of the home. "She was well right up until last night. She was her normal self. I'd spoken to her about a week ago and told her she was going to be 115. She just said 'Oh, really?' "
Morris was recognized as the oldest woman in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records in March.
Born in Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1885, Morris was widowed in the 1930s. She lived in her own flat until she was 107, when she moved to the nursing home after a chest infection.
Her only child, Winnie, died of cancer in 1975 at age 62.
Family friend Margaret Moult said Morris, who became deaf and had limited sight, was fiercely independent.
"She used to enjoy a cigarette and rode a bicycle, but she's never had a day's illness apart from chest infections, which are due to old age," she said.
Her death came a week after Britain's oldest man, former Royal Engineer Bill Lee, died at 108.
The Guinness Book of Records could not immediately confirm the age of the next oldest woman on record.
The oldest man in the world is 111-year-old American Benjamin Holcomb, from Kansas.
The oldest person ever with authenticated records was Jeanne Calment of France, who died Aug. 4, 1997, at age 122.
On June 14, Maria do Carmo Jeronimo, a former slave whose lack of a birth certificate prevented her recognition as the world's oldest woman, died in Itajuba, Brazil. Church records listed her age as 129.
A Dominican woman, Elizabeth Israel, says she is 125 years old but does not have the documents to prove it, a Guinness spokesman said.
"We don't doubt that she is 125 years old, but we do need to be able to verify it," the spokesman said. "She is gathering the evidence so we may be able to make an announcement."