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Maria Branyas

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Maria Branyas Morera
María Branyas Morera
Branyas on her 117th birthday in 2024
Maria Branyas Morera

(1907-03-04)4 March 1907
(age 117 years, 111 days)
  • Spanish
  • American
Known for
Joan Moret
(m. 1931; died 1976)
Children3 (1 deceased)

Maria Branyas Morera (Catalan: [məˈɾiə ˈβɾaɲəs]; born 4 March 1907) is an American-born Spanish supercentenarian who, at the age of 117 years, 111 days, has been the world's oldest verified living person since the death of Lucile Randon on 17 January 2023.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Maria Branyas Morera (aged 4) sitting on a wooden fence with her family in 1911, New Orleans

Branyas was born on 4 March 1907 in San Francisco, California. She was the first child and eldest daughter to Joseph Branyas Julià (1877–1915) and Teresa Morera Laque (1880–1968). Maria Branyas was part of an expatriate Spanish family (of Catalan origin) who had moved there in 1906, the year prior to her birth.[2][3] She and her family later moved to Texas, then subsequently to New Orleans.[3][4] While in New Orleans, her father Josep worked as a journalist and founded the Spanish-language magazine Mercurio.[4] The family decided to return to Catalonia in 1915 due to major events that impacted Branyas's father.[3][4] He was both struggling financially, declared bankruptcy, and his doctor recommended a move amid his declining health.[3][4] Due to the German naval presence in the Atlantic Ocean during the First World War, their boat had to travel via Cuba and the Azores to ensure safe passage.[2] On the voyage, Branyas lost the ability to hear in her ear[clarification needed] after falling from the upper deck to the lower deck while playing with her brothers.[5] Branyas's father also died of tuberculosis on the voyage, and her mother later remarried.[3][6] The family settled first in Barcelona and subsequently moved northeast to the city of Banyoles.[6]

On 16 July 1931, Branyas married Joan Moret, a traumatologist, with whom she had three children: August Moret Branyas (6 July 1932 – 14 June 2019), who died in a tractor accident aged 86, Maria Teresa Moret Branyas (born 25 October 1933) and Maria Rosa Moret Branyas (born 1944).[7][8][9][10] During the Spanish Civil War, Branyas was employed as a nurse working by her husband's side at a Nationalist field hospital in Trujillo, Extremadura.[3][6] While later living in Girona, Moret became the regional leader of the healthcare organisation Obra Sindical 18 de Julio [es].[3] He was also the director of the Josep Trueta Hospital, then called Residencia Sanitaria Álvarez de Castro, in Girona from 1972 to 1974.[3][11] Branyas worked as a nurse and as her husband's assistant until his death in 1976.[4][12]

In the 1990s, Branyas travelled to Egypt, Italy, the Netherlands, and England and took up sewing, music and reading.[3] In 2000, at the age of 93, she moved to a nursing home in Olot, Catalonia after contracting pneumonia.[3][13] Branyas was described as an active resident there, continuing to perform exercises until her mobility deteriorated.[6] Branyas played the piano until she was 108, and now uses a voice-to-text platform to communicate due to hearing loss.[14][15][16] She has 11 grandchildren.[3]

Health and longevity[edit]

Branyas became a supercentenarian in 2017, which is achieved by about one in a thousand centenarians.[17] In March 2020, Branyas became the then-oldest[a] person to recover from COVID-19.[18] In an interview with The Observer, she called for better treatment of the elderly: "This pandemic has revealed that older people are the forgotten ones of our society. They fought their whole lives, sacrificed time and their dreams for today's quality of life. They didn't deserve to leave the world in this way".[19]

In July 2020, a research study into the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on elderly care home residents was conducted by the Spanish National Research Council and Dalt Pharmacy. The study was called Proyecto Branyas ('Project Branyas') in her honour.[3][20]

Branyas officially became the oldest living person in the world on 17 January 2023, after the death of Lucile Randon of France.[1] She also became the oldest person ever to have resided in Spain on 21 April 2023 after surpassing Ana María Vela Rubio, and the oldest emigrant ever on 14 May 2023 after surpassing Tekla Juniewicz. Since the death of Fusa Tatsumi of Japan on 12 December 2023, Branyas is the last surviving validated person born in 1907.[21]

In 2023, she became the subject of scientific research as a result of maintaining good health and memory at an advanced age.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Branyas remained the oldest person to recover from COVID-19 until January 2021, when Lucile Randon, who was three years Branyas' senior, tested positive days before her 117th birthday.


  1. ^ a b "World's oldest person, French nun Sister Andre, dies aged 118". The Irish Times. 17 January 2023. Retrieved 17 January 2023.
  2. ^ a b Jordan, Guifré (17 January 2023). "Catalonia's Maria Branyas becomes oldest living person on Earth at 115". Catalan News.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Simón, Pedro (23 July 2020). "Maria, la Española de 111 años que derrotó al coronavirus" (PDF). El Mundo (in Spanish). pp. 37–8. Retrieved 18 January 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d e Dusster, David (13 October 2019). "María Branyas, la abuela de Catalunya: "No he hecho nada más que vivir"". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 January 2023.
  5. ^ Branyas, Maria (18 December 2020). "Tweet by Super Àvia Catalana". Twitter (in Catalan). Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d Costa-Pau, Aniol (18 January 2023). "La 'superàvia catalana' ja és la persona més vella del món". Ara (in Catalan). Retrieved 18 January 2023.
  7. ^ García, Andrea (23 July 2020). "Tot un exemple: Maria, la catalana que ha superat el coronavirus amb 113 anys". Catalunya Diari (in Catalan). Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  8. ^ Branyas, Maria (21 March 2022). "Tweet by Super Àvia Catalana". Twitter (in Catalan). Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  9. ^ Branyas, Maria (21 March 2022). "Tweet by Super Àvia Catalana". Twitter (in Catalan). Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  10. ^ Branyas, Maria (21 March 2022). "Tweet by Super Àvia Catalana". Twitter (in Catalan). Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  11. ^ Roig García, Josep; Merino Palomar, Purificación; Baró Seguí, Joan (2006). De la Residència a hospital d'alt nivell: 50 anys de l'Hospital Dr. Josep Trueta de Girona (1956-2006) (PDF) (in Catalan) (1st ed.). Girona: Generalitat de Catalunya: Department of Health. pp. 160–161. ISBN 978-8439370482.
  12. ^ "La història de la Maria Branyas, la persona més vella del món". www.naciodigital.cat (in Catalan). 18 January 2023. Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  13. ^ Jordan, Guifré (19 August 2019). "Meet Catalonia's oldest person, a 112-year-old". Catalan News.
  14. ^ Georgiou, Aristos (18 January 2023). "World's oldest person Maria Branyas did this until she was 108 years old". Newsweek.
  15. ^ "Décès de sœur André: Maria Branyas Morera, 115 ans, serait la nouvelle doyenne de l'humanité". Sudouest (in French). 18 January 2023. ISSN 1760-6454. Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  16. ^ "World's oldest living person confirmed as US-born Spanish woman". Guinness World Records. 19 January 2023.
  17. ^ Maier, H.; Gampe, J.; Jeune, B.; Robine, J.-M.; Vaupel, J. W., eds. (25 May 2010). Supercentenarians. Demographic Research Monographs. Springer. p. 338. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-11520-2. ISBN 978-3-642-11519-6.
  18. ^ "Catalonia's senior-most citizen survives Covid-19 at age 113". Catalan News. 11 May 2020.
  19. ^ Kassam, Ashifa (16 May 2020). "113-year-old coronavirus survivor: 'The elderly are the forgotten ones of society'". The Observer. ISSN 1756-3224. Archived from the original on 17 May 2020. Retrieved 2 January 2023.
  20. ^ "Maria Branyas". Branyas Project. Retrieved 18 January 2023.
  21. ^ "World Supercentenarian Rankings List – Gerontology Research Group". Retrieved 5 February 2024.
  22. ^ "Scientists study world's oldest person to unearth secret to long life". The Independent. 26 October 2023. Retrieved 28 October 2023.