LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – Experts are planning to investigate whether a woman who recently died in Louisville lived for 122 years as relatives claim.
The Courier-Journal newspaper reports that Shukhrat Aliyeva died on Tuesday. If verified, she would join Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment as the oldest person whose age was certified by official documents. Calment died in 1997.
Some experts are skeptical. Stephen Coles, a University of California, Los Angeles researcher who has done autopsies on some of the world's longest-lived people, says his group will investigate Aliyeva's age.
Coles, who is a founder of the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group, said it's suspicious partly because the her birth date is listed in her state identification as Jan. 1, 1887. He said that was a month and day often used by people unsure of their birth.
"The oldest person in history lived to be 122, that was Calment, and nobody has come close to her age in 12 years," he said. "But we will investigate this carefully."
Family members say Aliyeva grew up in a mountain village in Georgia in eastern Europe, where birth certificates were not issued.
"She was a strong woman," said Gulnara Gassanova, a relative who lived with Aliyeva for a time. "She had grandchildren with grandchildren."
Her Russian passport says she was born on "00 00 1887," and she maintained that her birth year was correct, family members said.
Jefferson County deputy coroner R.D. Jones said Aliyeva died at her home in Louisville on Tuesday afternoon of natural causes. Jones also called Aliyeva's doctor's office, which had the same date of birth as her ID and the same that the family gave.