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Oldest Man Dies: Jiroemon Kimura Dies at 116 in Japan

Travelers Today       By    Lena Vazifdar

Updated: Jun 12, 2013 04:14 PM EDT

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Jiroemon Kimura, the world's oldest man has died at 116. Kimura lived in the town of Kyotango, Japan and was treated for pneumonia the past week when he stopped responding to the treatment, reported ABC News. He died of natural causes, a statement from the government said.

Kimura turned 116 last month and was the last man alive to be known to be born in the 19th century according to Guinnes World Records. He was also the oldest living person, according to Guinnes.

Now, Misao Okawa who is 115 years old and from Japan has become the oldest living person according to Guinnes.

 "People who live to that age are incredibly homogeneous, as if they have some key genetic features in common that get them to an incredibly old age," Dr. Tom Perls who is the director of the New England Centenarian Study at Boston University Medical Center said to ABC News.

"Born on April 19, 1897, when Queen Victoria still reigned over the British Empire, Kimura dodged childhood killers such as tuberculosis and pneumonia that kept life expectancy in Japan to 44 years around the time of his birth. He became the oldest man in recorded history on Dec. 28, 2012, at the age of 115 years and 253 days," reported Bloomberg.

Kimura is the third of six children and born as Kinjiro Miyake in Kamiukawa, Japan which is a fishing and farming village. His parents were farmers that grew rice and vegetables.

"After finishing school at the age of 14 as the second-best student in his class, Kimura worked at local post offices for 45 years until his retirement in 1962 at the age of 65. He also worked at a government communication unit in Korea in the 1920s, when the peninsula was under Japanese rule, and returned to marry his neighbor Yae Kimura," reported Bloomberg.

He changed his name to Jiroemon Kimura after his wife's family did not have a male heir. Eiko Kimura, his grandson's widow said that he used to help his son farm until he was about 90 years old. His wife, Yae, died in 1978 at the age of 74 and four of his five siblings lived to be more than 90.

"Grandpa is positive and optimistic," said Eiko in December of Kimura to Bloomberg. "He becomes cheerful when he has guests. He's well with a good appetite."

As of December, Kimura had five children, 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

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