Oldest man in history Jiroemon Kimura dies at 116

Jiroemon Kimura received awards from Guinness World Records in April

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A Japanese man recognised as the world's oldest living person, and the oldest man recorded in history, has died aged 116, local officials say.

Jiroemon Kimura died of natural causes on Wednesday in a hospital in Kyotango, Kyoto, a government statement said.

In December, Guinness World Records recorded Mr Kimura as the oldest man ever verified to have lived.

He reportedly had seven children, 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, and 13 great-great-grandchildren.

Mr Kimura was born on 19 April 1897, the same year as aviator Amelia Earhart.

He worked in his local post office until retiring and was said to have helped his son with his farming until he was around 90 years old.

He became the world's oldest living person in December, when the previous title-holder died.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent Mr Kimura a video greeting when he celebrated his 116th birthday on 19 April.

The mayor of Kyotango, which is in western Japan, also dropped by for a visit.

'Eat light to live long'

In an interview in December, his nephew, Tamotsu Miyake, said Kimura had "an amazingly strong will to live".

"He is strongly confident that he lives right and well."

World's oldest people

  • Oldest woman recorded in history: Jeanne Calment, France, died 4 August 1997 aged 122
  • Oldest man recorded in history: Jiroemon Kimura, Japan, died 12 June 2013 aged 116
  • Oldest living man: James McCoubrey, USA, 111
  • Oldest living woman: Misao Okawa, Japan, 115

In an interview on his 115th birthday, Mr Kimura said he was not sure why he was able to live so long.

"Maybe it's all thanks to the sun above me," he said. "I am always looking up towards the sky, that is how I am."

Journalist Kanoko Matsuyama of Bloomberg News met Mr Kimura at his home last year.

"He said his secret to his longevity was eating light to live long," Ms Matsuyama told the BBC.

"At the same time, his main carer and grand-daughter-in-law, Aiko, said his positivity helped him to live so long."

Japanese woman Misao Okawa from Osaka, who is 115 years old, will most probably inherit the title of world's oldest living person, reports say.

She is already considered the world's oldest living woman.

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