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World's oldest person marks 115th birthday in Georgia

In this Feb. 1, 2011 file photo, Besse Cooper, sits in her room at a nursing home, in Monroe, Ga. Cooper, the woman who was listed as the world's oldest person has died Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 in a Georgia nursing home at age 116, according to her son Sidney Cooper. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

In this Feb. 1, 2011 file photo, Besse Cooper, sits in her room at a nursing home, in Monroe, Ga. Cooper, the woman who was listed as the world's oldest person has died Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 in a Georgia nursing home at age 116, according to her son Sidney Cooper. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

MONROE -- A small group of friends and relatives on Friday celebrated with cake and music as Besse Cooper, who is listed as the world's oldest person, turned 115 on Friday.

They gathered at Cooper's Monroe nursing home, where she enjoyed two small slivers of her birthday cake and heard well wishes from loved ones, said her daughter-in-law Edith Cooper.

Besse Cooper nodded with approval as Nashville musician Mike Cronic played the Tennessee Waltz on his guitar.

"When I read a story about Ms. Cooper, I just wanted to play some songs for the oldest person in the world," Cronic told The Associated Press.

Cronic, a former Georgian who was a member of the Normaltown Flyers rock band in Athens, also performs for older people in the Nashville area as part of an organization called Music for Seniors.

"That was just the neatest, sweetest thing for him to just call out of the blue and say `may I play at her birthday party," Edith Cooper said.

Besse Cooper was born in Tennessee and moved to Georgia during World War I to find work as a teacher.

She has 12 grandchildren and more than a dozen great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. Her husband, Luther, died in 1963.

She was declared the world's oldest in January. In May, Guinness learned that Maria Gomes Valentin of Brazil was 48 days older. Valentin died June 21.