World's oldest person dies at 116 in Japan

Wednesday 12 June 2013 14.07
Jiroemon Kimura had been in hospital with pneumonia
Jiroemon Kimura had been in hospital with pneumonia

The world's oldest person, Jiroemon Kimura, has died in Japan at the age of 116.

Mr Kimura, who lived in Kyotango near Kyoto in western Japan, had been in hospital with pneumonia since last month.

He became the world's oldest person in December 2012, after the former title holder, a 115-year-old woman from Iowa died, according to Guinness World Records.

Mr Kimura was born in 1897 - the same year as aviator Amelia Earhart and the year Britain's Queen Victoria marked her Diamond Jubilee.

He worked as a postal employee and as a farmer at his home.

On his 115th birthday, he told reporters he was keeping his mind fit by learning English. He attributed his longevity to getting out in the sunlight.

"I am always looking up towards the sky. That is how I am," Mr Kimura said then.

Mr Kimura is survived by seven children, 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, and 15 great-great-grandchildren.

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