World’s oldest man dies days after revealing secret to long life

The world’s oldest living man has died at age 112 – just 13 days after he was told a Guinness Book of Records Ceremony the secret to living a long life.

Chitetsu Watanabe, a retired Japanese farmer, died at his care home in Niigata, the city in northern Japan. The same city where he was born in March 1907.

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 The father-of-five had developed a fever and struggled to eat after celebrating his record on February 12.

His eldest son’s wife Yoko told Japan’s Mainichi newspaper that in the days before his death, he slightly struggled.

For a long part of his life, Mr Watanabe worked on a sugar plantation and in his death left behind not only his five children, but 12 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchildren.

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Sweetly enough, he grinned happily as he received his award and admitted while he did not have any teeth, he could still not resist custard and cream tarts.

He told people listening at the Guinness Book of Records ceremony that the secret to a long life was to smile and never be angry.

A wake will be held for Mr Watanabe at 6 pm on February 27, organised by his grandson Tetsuya, and a funeral will take place at 10.30 am the next day at Ceremony Hall Heian.

The oldest living man is now 110-year-old Issaku Tomoe, according to Jiji Press. The previous oldest living man was Masazo Nonaka, also Japanese, who died last year aged 113.

Mr Watanabe's daughter-in-law - wife of his eldest son Tetsuo, said: “I've never seen him raise his voice or get mad. He's also caring.

“I think having lived with a big family under one roof, mingling with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren helped keep a smile on his face as well.”

Only a little more than a decade ago, Mr Watanabe used to grow bonsai trees and had amassed a glorious collection of about 100 which he used to exhibit for interested tourists and curious travellers.

With all his might and will, he proved age was not much more than a number and kept growing fruits and vegetable on his family home he had built with his son Tetsuo in 1974.

He did not stop until he was 104 years old.

The record for the oldest man ever was held by Jiroemon Kimura, of Japan, who was born in April 1897 and passed away aged 116 years 54 days in June, 2013.

This article originally appeared on Over60.