World's Oldest Man Dies Shortly After Claiming Record
The world's oldest man has died shortly after claiming the record.
Chitetsu Watanabe from Niigata, Japan, was officially confirmed the oldest living male by Guinness World Records on 12 February, aged at 112 years and 344 days. However, he died on Sunday, 11 days shy of his 113th birthday.
Chitetsu became unable to eat after celebrating his Guinness World Records certification and had to be put on an intravenous drip before developing a fever and shallow breathing on 21 February, according to Japanese newspaper Mainichi.
Chitetsu had been in high spirits upon receiving his certificate at his nursing home and Yoko Watanabe - the wife of his eldest son Tetsuo - credited his long life to his stress-free attitude.
She said: "I've lived together with him for over 50 years, and I've never seen him raise his voice or get mad.
"He's also caring. When I was working on my patchwork hobby, he was the one who praised my work the most. 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."
Chitetsu's calligraphy banner (which he wrote himself) reads "World's No. 1" :tada: pic.twitter.com/UhnCQeH1Wm
- GuinnessWorldRecords (@GWR) February 12, 2020
Chitetsu was born on 5 March 1907 in Niigata as the first of eight children of his father Haruzo and mother Miya.
After graduating from agricultural school, he moved to Taiwan to work on sugar cane plantation contracts. During his 18 years in Taiwan, Chitetsu married Mitsue and four out of five of their children were born there. He also served in the military towards the end of the Pacific War in 1944.
He returned to his home town after the war and this was an extremely tough time for the family, with food sparse.
Chitetsu worked the rest of his career in an agricultural office, and after retiring, he and Tetsuo built a new family home. It came with a hectare of farmland, which Chitetsu grew fruit and veg on until he was 104.
Chitetsu came four years shy of the record for the oldest man ever, which had been held by fellow countryman Jiroemon Kimura, who was born on 19 April 1897 and passed away aged 116 years 54 days on 12 June 2013.
Kane Tanaka, also Japanese, is currently the oldest living woman, having turned 117 in January.
Featured Image Credit: Guinness World Records