Robert Young, a senior consultant for the Gerontology Research Group, said Jones died at a senior home after being ill the past 10 days.
Jones was born in a small farm town near Montgomery, Ala., in 1899. She was one of 11 siblings and attended a special school for young black girls. Relatives have attributed her long life to her love of family and generosity to others.
Jones became Guinness World Records’ official oldest person when 117-year-old Misao Okawa died in Tokyo last year.
Italy’s Emma Morano, just a few months younger than Jones, is now the unofficial world’s oldest person.