World's Oldest Man Dies in Japan

Created: 2013-06-12 14:17 EST

Category: World > Asia Pacific

The oldest living person, a Japanese man Jiroemon Kimura, died in the early hours of Wednesday morning (June 12), Japanese media said.

He was admitted into hospital for pneumonia in May before passing away, Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported.

Kimura was crowned the world's oldest person on December 17, 2012, after the former title holder, a 115-year-old woman from Iowa in the U.S. died, the Guinness World Records said.

When asked on his 115th birthday the secret to his long life, he said that it's just thanks to the fact that he was always looking upwards.

[Jiroemon Kimura, Kyoto Resident]:
"I don't know exactly...maybe it's all thanks to the sun above me. I am always looking up towards the sky, that is how I am."

He was born on April 19, 1897 the same year as aviator Amelia Earhart and the year Queen Victoria marked her Diamond Jubilee.

He worked at his local post office and also did some farming at his home after retiring.

Kimura leaves seven children, 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, and 15 great-great-grandchildren, local media said.

Japan has more than 50,000 centenarians, 2011 government data showed, reinforcing its reputation for longevity.

The country also boasts the world's longest living woman, a 115-year-old Misao Ookawa who lives in Osaka and who could now gain the title of the world's oldest person.