The world’s oldest man has died just two months after obtaining the title. Alexander Imich, a Polish-born psychic researcher died Sunday morning at his home at a senior care residence in Manhattan. He had turned 111 on February 4. His death was reported by a grandniece, Karen Bogen, in Rhode Island, and a longtime friend in New York, Michael Mannion
Mr. Imich was born into a well-to-do secular Jewish family on Feb. 4, 1903, in Czestochowa in southern Poland. With the outbreak of World War II, he and his wife fled to Soviet-occupied Bialystok, Poland, where they were sent to a Soviet labor camp. Once freed, they moved to Samarkand, in what is now Uzbekistan, and then back to Poland, where they found many family members had died in the Holocaust. In 1951 they immigrated to Waterbury, Connecticut.
In the early 1930s, Imich began researching a Polish medium known as Matylda S., who was renowned for séances that reportedly called up the dead. He detailed the encounters in a German scholarly journal in 1932 and an anthology he edited, Incredible Tales of the Paranormal published by Bramble Books in 1995, when he was 92.
Imich was the world’s oldest validated male supercentenarian (those over 110), according to the Gerontology Research Group of Torrance, California. He attained the distinction when the previous record-holder, Arturo Licata of Italy, died on April 24 at 111 years and 357 days. This seems to be a title that isn’t held for long. In September, 2013, Salustiano Sanchez-Blazquez was the world’s oldest man when he died at age 112.
In an interview with The New York Times this spring, Mr. Imich made light of his longevity record, saying, “Not like it’s the Nobel Prize.”
“I never thought I’d be that old.”
In the interview, Imich attributed his long life to the fact that he and his wife, Wela, a painter and therapist who died in 1986, never had children. He exercised regularly most of his life, quit smoking many years ago, and never drank alcohol. He also ate sparingly but admits ice cream and chocolate are among his favorite foods.
Mr. Imich had willed his body to Mount Sinai Medical Center for study, according to Michael Mannion, a family friend who spoke with The New York Times for an article posted today.
Guinness World Records is investigating the claim that 111-year-old Sakari Momoi of Japan is now the world’s oldest man.
Typically women tend to live longer than men. Ninety percent of people over 100 years old are female. The world’s oldest person is a woman, 116-year-old Misao Okawa of Japan.
[Image via TheNewYorkTimes.com]