Man who claimed to be 'world's oldest human' dies in Indonesia 'aged 146'

William Watkinson
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An Indonesian man who claimed to be the world's oldest living person has died at the age of 146, in his village in Central Java, say reports.

Saparman Sodimejo was nicknamed 'Mbah Gotho', or 'Grandpa Gotho', and claimed to have documentation confirming that he was born on 31 December 1870 despite the country only recording new births from 1900.

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Despite Indonesian officials affirming that Sodimejo's papers were legitimate, he was not the 'official' world's oldest person.

A lifelong heavy smoker Sodimedjo had outlived all his children, 10 siblings and four wives.

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But on 12 April he was rushed to hospital because of deteriorating ill health before returning to his home six days later, it was reported.

"Since he came back from the hospital, he only ate spoonfuls of porridge and drank very little," his grandson Suyanto told the BBC.

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"It only lasted a couple of days. From that moment on to his death, he refused to eat and drink."

Gotho – whose most recent wife died in 1988 – was buried on Monday (1 May) on a plot he bought in 1992 and after purchasing his gravestone.

Last year his story made headlines when he told international reporters he had enough of life and wanted to die.

"He didn't ask much. Before he died, he just wanted us, his family, to let him go," Suryanto said to the BBC.

Saparman

Ghoto, who had great- and great-great grandchildren, said that the secret to having a long life was "patience" and he enjoyed listening to the radio in later life because his failing eyesight.

In his village he told stories about wars with Japan and Dutch colonisers and although he could not remember the year he was born, he claimed to remember the building of a sugar factory in the area which was built in 1880.

The Guinness World Records says the oldest person to have lived was 122-year-old French woman Jeanne Louise Calment, who died in a nursing home in 1997.

But several other people have claimed to beat this record including Nigerian James Olofintuyi, who claimed to have lived until 171, and Dhaqabo Ebba from Ethiopia, who claimed to be 163.

Although without verifiable documents their claims were not officially recognised.

It is stated that 117-year-old Violet Brown of Jamaica, born 10 March 1900, is currently the oldest living person in the world, after her age was independently verified.

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