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World's oldest living man has died at 114. Here's his longevity secret

Juan Vicente Pérez was the fourth-oldest age-verified man in history, and he attributes that to a couple of things.
World's oldest living man has died at 114. Here's his longevity secret
Posted at 7:18 PM, Apr 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-03 21:18:12-04

The world has lost its oldest living man just weeks before his 115th birthday.

Juan Vicente Pérez Mora's death was confirmed by the governor of Táchira, Venezuela, where the supercentenarian lived. 

"Our dear Juan Vicente Pérez Mora, today with deep sadness and pain we say goodbye to you, to that archetype of a man from Táchira, humble, hard-working, peaceful, enthusiastic about family and tradition," Gov. Freddy Bernal said in Spanish in a post on X. 

Born May 27, 1909, Pérez was confirmed the world's oldest man at 112 years and 253 days old, according to Guinness World Records. His Feb. 4, 2022 crowning came weeks after the previous title holder, Saturnino de la Fuente Garcia, died at 112 years and 341 days old.

The milestone made Pérez Venezuela's first "fully authenticated supercentenarian man," GWR's first South American oldest living man and the fourth-oldest age-verified man ever, according to the record book's editor-in-chief.

But beyond the records Pérez achieved by age, his personal story is one for the books, too.

The ninth child of 10, Pérez began working with his family in agriculture by age 5, eventually creating a wooden mill to help produce more coffee and sugar at the farm, GWR says. He then went to school for only five months at age 10, but after his teacher became ill, he taught himself basic reading and writing from a book, the record group states. 

Just before turning 40, Pérez became the sheriff of Caricuena, Táchira, and helped resolve land and family disputes, maintaining the position for 10 years while still working in agriculture, per GWR.

In his more personal life, however, Pérez prioritized his faith, typically praying at least twice a day, and his family.

He and his wife, Ediofina del Rosario García, were together 60 years until she died in 1997. But their relationship spawned the lives of 11 kids, 42 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and 12 great-great-grandchildren.

At the time of his title confirmation, Guinness said Pérez's "exceptional health and memory" still allowed him to remember his childhood, his marriage and the names of his siblings, children and grandchildren. 

So what was Pérez's secret to longevity? GWR says he attributed it to "working hard, resting on holidays, going to bed early, drinking a glass of aguardiente every day, loving God and always carrying him in his heart."

He also told the group he wanted to be remembered as a "hard-working man, faithful to his wife and his religion." Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro appeared to respect these wishes in a post on X, saying Pérez had "transcended into eternity."

"I send my hug and condolences to his family and to all the people of El Cobre, Táchira state. May God receive him in his holy glory!" Maduro said in the post.

Pérez's death means a new oldest living man will be crowned, and GWR says it expects it to be 112-year-old Japanese resident Gisaburo Sonobe, pending his family's confirmation.

Currently, the oldest living person is a woman, 117-year-old Maria Branyas Morera. Born in San Francisco on March 2, 1907, Branyas' family moved back to Spain in 1915, where she still lives today. In March 2020, she became the then-oldest person to recover from COVID-19, and following another woman's death in February, she became the last confirmed living U.S.-born person born before 1909.

The top 24 oldest living people have all been women, with the oldest being 122-year-old Jeanne Calment who died in 1997, according to the Gerontology Research Group. The oldest man who ever lived was Jiroemon Kimura of Japan, dying in 2013 at 116 years and 54 days old.


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