Japan's Misao Okawa, who had been the world's oldest person, died Wednesday from heart failure at the age of 117, most likely making Arkansas' Gertrude Weaver the new titleholder, according to the Gerontology Research Group.
Weaver will celebrate her 117th birthday on July 4th and her only wish is to have President Obama attend her party. "She really wants to meet the president," Kathy Langley, center administrator at Silver Oaks Health and Rehabilitation Center in Camden, Arkansas, told The Associated Press. "She's voted for him twice now and it's just her lifelong dream.
"We sent him an invitation to come to her birthday party last year, and we will send him another one this year," Langley said.
Langley told The Huffington Post that Weaver has been a resident of the care facility since 2009 and that every year on her birthday, the center hosts a large celebration for her that's open to the community (and now the world). Guests are invited to enjoy refreshments and meet with Weaver who, she says, "entertains everyone who comes by."
Weaver was told the big news yesterday by her son, granddaughter and grandson, Langley says, adding that "she was very excited and humbled. It was quite a big day for her."
The centenarian is still active at 116 and attends church regularly. She even exercises three times a week in her wheelchair. She's said her faith is the secret to her longevity. "You have to follow God. Don't follow anyone else. Be obedient and follow the laws and don't worry about anything. I've followed him for many, many years and I ain't tired," she said on her 116th birthday.
Guinness World Records has yet to officially dub Weaver the world's oldest person and is now "investigating potential successors for the title for the oldest woman living," according to a public statement.
Langley says once it's official, they plan to have a celebration in honor of her title and her birthday at the end of June. Hopefully, President Obama will be there too.