Last month we wrote about Sakhan Dosova, a woman from Kazakhstan who created a sensation when it was revealed that she might be 130 years old, easily making her the world’s oldest person. Now, in one of life’s strange twists of irony, Sakhan Dosova has apparently broken her hip and died after a freak fall in her new flat. With the death of Sakhan Dosova, American woman Gertrude Baines once again takes the reigns as the world’s oldest living person at 115.
Before her recent stardom Dosova apparently lived a simple life, eating simple foods, rarely seeking medical treatment, and avoiding many of the trappings of modern society. But after Dosova’s age was revealed a few months ago and she became a world sensation all this changed. The Daily Mail reported that Sakhan Dosova was recently given a new flat by officials in Kazakhstan who were embarrassed that the country’s overnight celebrity was living in overcrowded conditions with her impoverished family. It sure is ironic to think that Dosova’s death may have been ushered in at least partly by her sudden departure from the simple life that had served her well for so many years.
We may never know Dosova’s true age. Although she had a valid passport showing that she was born in 1879, this information might have been mistaken or even forged for whatever reason. Even with an autopsy it is surprisingly difficult with current technology to determine the individual’s age.
Regardless of her true age, it is very likely that Dosova was one of those rare individuals to live past the age of 110, often defined as supercentenarians. According to Wikipedia, only one in a thousand centenarians make it to supercentenarian status, and furthermore only 2% of supercentenarians live to be 115. Many singularity enthusiasts expect life expectancies to explode in the coming decades as modern science and technology continue to advance. Will centenarians or even supercentenarians soon move from rarity to commonality? Only time (literally!) will tell.