World's oldest man dies

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The Independent Online

Tomoji Tanabe, the world's oldest man, died in his sleep at his home in southern Japan today, a city official said. He was 113.

"He died peacefully. His family members were with him," said Junko Nakao, a city official in Miyakonojo on Japan's southern island of Kyushu. Mr Tanabe died of heart failure, she said.

Mr Tanabe, who was born on 18 September, 1895, had eight children - five sons and three daughters.

The former city land surveyor also had 25 grandchildren, 53 great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren, according to a statement from the Miyakonojo city.

He was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's oldest man when he was 111 years old.

Mr Tanabe lived with his fifth son and daughter-in-law.

His favourite meals were fried shrimp and Japanese miso soup with clams, the statement said.

Great War veteran Henry Allingham is now believed to be the world's oldest man following the death.

Mr Allingham, one of only two surviving First World War veterans in the UK and the last surviving founder member of the RAF, celebrated his 113th birthday on June 6.

The veteran lives at St Dunstan's care home for blind ex-service personnel, near Brighton.

His spokesman Dennis Goodwin said he did not know if Mr Allingham is definitely now the oldest man in the world, though he knows he is the oldest man in Europe.

He said today: "It's staggering. He (Henry) is philosophical. He will take it in his stride, like he does everything else."

Mr Tanabe drank milk every morning and read the newspaper. He also avoided alcohol and did not smoke, the statement said.

The city's mayor, Makoto Nagamine, said Mr Tanabe was "the symbol of the Miyakonojo known as a city of long life.

"I feel very saddened by his death," Mr Nagamine said in a statement. "He cheered many citizens."

There are several surviving women known to be older than Mr Tanabe. Gertrude Baines of California, at 115, is thought to be the world's oldest living person.

From The Belfast Telegraph