Jiroemon Kimura, the world's oldest living person and the oldest man ever
, died Wednesday of natural causes. He was 116.
According to officials in Kyotango, Japan, where Kimura was born on April 19, 1897, the Guinness World Record holder died in a local hospital where he was being treated for pneumonia.
Kimura was the first man in recorded history to have lived to 116 years old, according to Guinness.
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"Jiroemon Kimura was an exceptional person
," said Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief of Guinness World Records to the Associated Press. "As the only man to have ever lived for 116 years - and the oldest man whose age has been fully authenticated - he has a truly special place in world history."
On Dec. 28, 2012, Kimura claimed the title of oldest man ever at the age of 115 years and 253 days.
The prior record holder was Christian Mortensen, a Danish immigrant to the United States who lived from 1882 to 1998.
In interviews with various media outlets, Kimura, who read newspapers every morning, said small food portions and spending much of his time in bed was his key to living a long, healthy life.
Kimura, a retired postal work who helped his son tend his farm until he was 90
, had seven children 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, and 13 great-great-grandchildren, the BBC reports.
"Mr. Kimura was and will always be a treasure to our town, to our country and to our world," said Kyotango Mayor Yasushi Nakayama.
Kimura's funeral will be held on Friday according to Kyotango officials.
Misao Okawa, of Osaka, Japan, is the current oldest living person at the age of 115 years old, according to Guinness.
Japan consistently has one of the highest life expectancies, with men on average living 80 years and women living 87 years, the United Nations reports.
According to a 2009 Health and Welfare Ministry in Japan, there are over 40,000 living centenarians on the island nation.
The United States rounds out the top 20 nations with women living on average to 81, and men to 78.
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The nation with the lowest life expectancy is the African country of Sierra Leone, where the average woman lives 49 years and average man lives 48 years.
On average, women live longer than men by five to 10 years in industrialized nations, with 85 percent of centenarians being woman, according to the New England Centenarian Study at Boston University.
The current oldest man is the Canadian-born James McCoubrey, who at the ripe old age of 111 years presently resides in Walnut Creek, Calif.
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