The world’s oldest man, who had said that the secret to a long life was smiling, has died at 112.
Chitetsu Watanabe, from northern Japan, died Sunday, Guinness World Records and the funeral home handling his services confirmed Tuesday.
He had not been able to eat recently and developed a fever and difficulty breathing a couple of days before his death, Japan’s nationally circulated newspaper Mainichi reported, citing family sources. However, no official cause of death was given.
Watanabe was presented with the official certificate as the world’s oldest living man by Guinness World Records at his nursing home in his hometown of Niigata, Japan, on Feb. 12.
He was born March 5, 1907, and was the oldest brother to seven siblings. Watanabe is survived by his five children, 12 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild, Mainichi said.
He spent 18 years in Taiwan after graduating from agricultural school, where he married his wife, Mitsue.
Watanabe served in the military toward the end of the Pacific War in 1944. He then returned to Niigata and worked at an agricultural office until he retired.
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Retirement didn’t stop him from being active, however. In 1974, he and his son built a new family home and grew vegetables and fruit there until Watanabe was 104.
Until about a decade ago, Watanabe grew and shaped small bonsai trees. His work was even exhibited.
The oldest living person, Kane Tanaka, also lives in Japan and celebrated her 117th birthday in January.
Contributing: Associated Press. Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.