World’s Oldest Person Dies At 116

Jiroemon Kimura, the world’s oldest person, died Wednesday. He was 116 years old.

Kimura died at 2:08 am of natural causes in a hospital in his hometown of Kyotango, near Kyoto. He had been hospitalized for pneumonia since May 11, and in the days leading up to his death, his blood-sugar level and urine production had declined.

Kimura celebrated his 116th birthday with friends and family in April. He even received a video message from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as well as a visit from the mayor of Kyotango, his hometown.

Kimura was born in 1897, the same year as Amelia Earhart, and the same year Queen Victoria had her Diamond Jubilee. At the time of his birth, the life expectancy in Japan was 44 years because of childhood killers such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. The current life expectancy at birth is 83 years, the highest in the world. Japan also boasts the world’s highest population of elderly people, with 40 centenarians per 100,000 people in the country. As of September 2012, there are 51,376 centenarians in the country. Kimura’s hometown, which has a population of 60,000, boasts 95 centenarians.

Worldwide, there are 55 supercentenarians, 51 females and four females. A supercentenarian is someone who has passed their 110th birthday.

Jiroemon Kimura became the oldest man in recorded history in December 2012 at 115 years and 253 days. The oldest woman in recorded history, Jeanne Calment, died at 122 in 1997.

In an interview last year, Kimura attributed his long life to a little bit of sunshine.

“Maybe it’s all thanks to the sun above me,” Kimura said. “I am always looking up towards the sky, that is how I am.”

A journalist who interviewed Kimura said that his secret was eating light. His granddaughter-in-law, who was his primary caregiver, said that Kimura’s positivity was what helped him live so long.

According to Japanese media, Kimura is survived by seven children, 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, and 13 great-great-grandchildren.

The title of world’s oldest person will now go to Misao Okawa, who was born March 5, 1898.