Morano separated from her abusive husband in the year 1938; as divorce was illegal at this point in time, she remained legally married to him until he passed away in 1978. She is the last known living person to have been born in the 1800s. "She forgets nothing", Yamile Vergara, her nurse for over 40 years, said at the time.
But it was also down to a rather unusual diet of three eggs - two raw - each day for more than 90 years.
Whether it was the advice of doctors or a controlling husband, Morano always made up her own mind.
"Emma has always eaten very few vegetables, very little fruit", her doctor, Carlo Bava, said in an interview past year.
Morano told reporters that she had a fiancé who died during World War I, before she was forced into marrying someone else who threatened to kill her if she refused.
Brown - who is 117 years and 36 days old - came to hold this prestigious title after fellow supercentenarian Emma Morano died yesterday at the aged 117 years and 137 days old.
She adopted the diet after a doctor diagnosed her with anaemia at the age of 20 and she maintained it for more than 90 years.
In an interview with AFP previous year, she put her longevity down to her diet.
She attributed her long lifespan to eating eggs and cookies daily - but hardly any fruit. Morano, who worked until she was 75, chose never to marry again.
Italian news agencies ANSA and Agi said the death was reported by her friends and family.
According to the Gerontology Research Group, the oldest person in the world is now 117-year-old Violet Bown in Jamaica, born March 10, 1900.
"From a strictly medical and scientific point of view", he told AP, "she can be considered a phenomenon". The world longevity record remains with French woman Jeanne Calment, who died at 122 in 1997, having outlived both her daughter and grandson.