Ana Vela, Europe’s oldest person, has died in Barcelona aged 116

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Ana Vela, Europe’s oldest person, has died in Barcelona aged 116
Ana Vela on her 110th birthday in 2011. Photo: La Verneda Nursing Home

Spain’s Ana Vela, the oldest person in Europe, has died peacefully in her sleep at a nursing home in Barcelona, six weeks after celebrating her 116th birthday


Ana Vela Rubio, who was born in Cordoba on October 29, 1901 was not only the oldest living person in Spain but since April has claimed the title as the oldest in Europe.

That title now passes to Italian grandmother, Giuseppina Projetto, aged 115.

“She died peacefully while asleep in her bed, without suffering,” a spokesman from the care home confirmed to El Pais on Friday.

Although originally born in Andalusia, Ana Vela had lived in Barcelona since moving there in the 1940s to work as a dressmaker.

She was born during the regency of  Queen María Cristina, the great-great grandmother of the current King of Spain and lived through two dictatorships, two world wars and the Spanish Civil War.

For the last years of her life she lived in La Verneda old people's home in Barcelona. Her daughter, also Ana Vela, who is 90-years-old, is also resident at the home.

A mother of four children, she has lived so long that even one of her grandchildren now has grandchildren of their own.

Just six weeks ago, Ana Vela had a party to celebrate her 116th birthday which was attended by numerous family members including grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.  

Spaniards have the highest life expectancies in the world – after Japan - which is often attributed to the Mediterranean diet and traditional slower pace of life. 

READ MORE: Six Spanish secrets on how to live to the age of one hundred

Spain is also home to the world’s oldest man who last week celebrated his 113th birthday in Extremadura.

Francisco Núñez Olivera puts his longevity down to “good genes”, “hard work” and a varied diet of homegrown vegetables. He also enjoys a daily glass of red wine.

But one Spaniard who lived to the ripe old age of 107 did so on a diet that consisted mainly of... red wine. 



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