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Elsie Thompson, oldest woman in Florida and fifth oldest in the U.S., center, is surrounded by her caretakers Arleen Pensinger, left, and Susie Harper, right, while visiting with neighbor Maryann White during a gathering to celebrate Thompson's 113th birthday at her home in Clearwater, Fla. Thursday, April 5, 2012.
The oldest person in the United States has died at age 113, just weeks before her 114th birthday.
A spokeswoman from Elsie Thompson's church in Clearwater, Fla., said she died March 21.
The Gerontology Research Group, which verifies age information for Guinness World Records, listed Thompson as the oldest living U.S. citizen after January's death of 114-year-old Mamie Rearden of South Carolina.
Thompson was born in Beaver Falls, Pa., on April 5, 1899. Her husband, Ronald Thompson, was a Republican state senator in Pennsylvania, and in 1971, the couple moved to Clearwater, Fla. Mr. Thompson died in 1986.
Mrs. Thompson is survived by her son, who is in California, and four grandchildren.
She often said the secret to her longevity was loving people and greeting each day with a smile.