US & World

World's oldest living person dies

Gertrude Baines on her 115th birthday.
Gertrude Baines on her 115th birthday.
John Rabe/KPCC

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The oldest living person lived in Los Angeles, until early Friday morning. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall says 115-year-old Gertrude Baines has died.

In her time on earth, Gertrude Baines traveled a long way – from her native Shellman, Georgia to the City of Angels. From life under Jim Crow segregation – her father was believed to have been a slave – to casting her vote for this country’s first black president. From long years of domestic work to a brief flash of celebrity in January when she became the world’s oldest person – and again on April 6th when she celebrated her 115th birthday.

At that time, a medical researcher said Baines was in pretty good health except for a touch of arthritis in her left knee. When reporters who visited her at her West Adams nursing home asked what kept her going, Baines attributed her long life to God. She outlived all her relatives.

Now, a 114-year-old woman in Japan assumes Gertrude Baines’ mantle as the oldest living human being.