Russian Woman Whose Passport Made Her The Oldest Person Ever Is Dead
A woman whose identification document says she was born in 1889 has died in Russia’s Chechnya region, state media reports say.
Koku Istambulova was buried in her native village of Bratskoye on January 27, the news agency TASS cited a grandson, Ilyas Abubakarov, as saying.
If the birth year in her internal passport is accurate, Istambulova was 129 or 130 when she died, making her the oldest person ever on record worldwide. No other specific evidence of her age has been cited.
The passport, which was issued in 2003, does not give the month or day of her birth, but she had said she was born on June 1.
Istambulova had been “basically…in good health, having only some blood pressure problems,” Abubakarov said on January 31, according to TASS. “But suddenly she felt sick, complaining of breathing problems.”
“We called a doctor, who gave her an injection, but she did not recover,” he said.
Istambulova outlived her six children.
Speaking to RFE/RL in 2018, Istambulova said several of her relatives including two sons died when Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s government sent Chechens en masse to internal exile on the Central Asian steppe in 1944.
TASS reported 10 days earlier that Nanu Shaova, a native of another North Caucasus republic, Kabardino-Balkaria, died at the age of 128.
People from the Caucasus region are often noted for their long lifespans.
According to Guinness World Records, the “greatest fully authenticated age to which any human has ever lived is 122 years 164 days by Jeanne Louise Calment,” a Frenchwoman who died in 1997.
French scientists who validated Calment’s status as the oldest person ever to have lived have dismissed a recent claim by two Russian scientists who dispute her age at death, contending that her daughter assumed her identity decades earlier.
With reporting by TASS, RIA Novosti, Reuters, and The Evening Standard
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.