Soledad Mexia (Associated Press/U-T San Diego, Nelvin C. Cepeda)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The oldest person born in Mexico, who also was California's oldest resident, has died in a hospice in Chula Vista, just 17 days after celebrating her 114th birthday.
Soledad Mexia (mah-HEE'-ah') died Friday at the Silverado Senior Living Hospice, said Dr. Stephen Coles of the Gerontology Research Group at the University of California Los Angeles.
Mexia was born in Mexico but moved to the United States when she was very young and become an American citizen, Coles said.
Her granddaughter, Rosalia Ferreira of San Diego, said Mexia loved to sleep.
"She would go to bed at 9 or 10 and not wake until 12 or 1 the next day," Ferreira said.
"Even when she was younger and alert, she always loved to sleep."
Mexia was a housewife most of her life, never working outside the home.
She didn't follow any special diet.
"But there was no junk food, I'll tell you that," Ferreira said. "It may have helped her keep her health."
Mexia had "no health issues whatsoever," she added. "She never took one pill for anything."
In addition, Ferreira said, her grandmother had a "very positive outlook on life."
"I never saw her with a bad attitude. She was always happy to be with her family," Ferreira said. "She loved to sing. That was my grandma."
The Gerontology Research Group is an organization of physicians, scientists and engineers who validate supercentenarians, people 110 or older.
The world's oldest person, Misao Okawa of Japan, is 115, Coles said.
The next three oldest people are from Michigan, New York and Massachusetts. They are all 114, Coles said. Mexia was the fifth-oldest person on the planet when she died.
The distinction of oldest California resident now goes to Opal Thompson, who is 112.
Gerontology Research Group, www.grg.org
SUE MANNING, Associated Press
Copyright © 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.