The oldest person in the United States has died.
Hester Ford, of Charlotte, North Carolina, died at her home on Saturday surrounded by her family, NBC's Charlotte affiliate WCNC-TV reports.
"It's a sad day but it's also a great day in heaven," her great-granddaughter Tanisha Patterson-Powe told WCNC. "Although we’re saddened by it, we take great pride in the legacy that she does leave behind."
U.S. & World
Ford's exact age is unclear. Her family says she was born on August 15, 1904, which would have made her 116, but the Gerontology Research Group claims she was born in 1905.
Ford had 12 children, 48 grandchildren, 108 great-grandchildren, and approximately 120 great-great-grandchildren.
"She was a pillar and stalwart to our family and provided much needed love, support and understanding to us all," her family said in a statement posted on Facebook on Saturday. "She was the seed that sprouted leaves and branches which is now our family. God saw fit to make her the matriarch of your family and blessed us to be her caretakers and recipients of her legacy.
"Her light shined beyond her local area and she lived beyond a century with memories containing real life experience of over 100 years," the family's post continues. "She not only represented the advancement of our family but of the Black African American race and culture in our country. She was a reminder of how far we have come as people on this earth."
Ford was born in Lancaster, South Carolina. At the time, Theodore Roosevelt was the president of the United States. She lived through many historical events, including two pandemics (the 1918 Spanish Flu and the current coronavirus pandemic).
She moved from South Carolina to Charlotte in 1953 to work as a nanny for a local family, WCNC reports.
On Nov. 23, 2019, Ford became the oldest person in the United States when Alelia Murphy died at the age of 114.
Ford's family asked the public to reflect on how far the world has come since she was born. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.
It was not clear who is now the oldest American.