Nabi Tajima, a Japanese woman who had been the world's oldest person, died Saturday due to advanced age at a hospital in southwestern Japan, local officials said. She was 117.

Born in 1900, Tajima, a resident of Kikai Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, raised seven sons and two daughters and had more than 140 descendants.

She had been spending most of her time in bed recent years at a nursing home and was hospitalized about a month ago.

"She passed away as if falling asleep. As she had been a hard worker, I want to tell her 'rest well,'" said Tajima's 65-year-old grandson Hiroyuki.

U.S.-based Gerontology Research Group recognized Tajima as the world's oldest person last September after the death of Violet Brown of Jamaica at the age of 117, according to the group's website.

Guinness World Records also had been conducting research with a view to recognizing Tajima as the oldest living person after the death of Brown.

Chiyo Miyako, a resident of Yokohama near Tokyo, is now the world's oldest living person. Miyako will turn 117 on May 2, according to the Gerontology Research Group.

"Currently, she can eat by herself and spends every day in good health. We, as her family members, are very happy about her longevity," Miyako's family said in a release.

Masazo Nonaka, a 112-year-old Japanese man in Hokkaido, born on July 25, 1905, is currently recognized as the world's oldest living man by the Guinness World Records.