The world’s oldest man has died just over a month after celebrating his 113th birthday.
Francisco Nunez Olivera, who was 10 years old when World War One broke out, died on Monday in the village of Bienvenida in southwestern Spain where he had lived throughout his life.
On Tuesday afternoon, he was set to be buried in Bienvenida.
Born on December 13, 1904, relatives credited his long life to a diet based on vegetables he grew on his own land and a daily glass of red wine.
Every morning for breakfast, he would have sponge cake made with olive oil and a glass of milk.
He was one of 32 people over the age of 90 among the roughly 2,200 inhabitants of the village, according to El Mundo.
Spain has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, which doctors often attribute to the country’s Mediterranean diet.
Bienvenida mayor Antonio Carmena confirmed Francisco’s death this morning, describing it as a ‘shame for the entire village and the whole world.’
He told local media: ‘In recent years he has meant a lot to us, he has represented our village and he has helped make us known and loved.’
Local officials declared a day of mourning to mark Francisco’s death.
The Spaniard, who has four children, nine grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren, turned 113 on December 13.
He began his anniversary with his traditional sponge cake and glass of milk for breakfast before opening letters of congratulation from around the world.
The widower’s daughter Maria Antonia, 82, was among those who spent the anniversary with him at his home. She was understood to have been with him on Monday night when he died.
Proud daughter Antonia, now his full-time carer, said when he turned 113 her dad was in ‘good health’ and didn’t have any aches or pains or illnesses.
Mayor Carmona added at the time: ‘He’s a living example of the quality of life in the municipality, but also of the pollution-free skies and countryside and stress-free work of the traditional way of life.’
Francisco, who has two siblings aged 97 and 93, became the world’s oldest man after the death of Polish-born Israeli Yisrael Kristal on August 11.
‘We were in the process of applying for him to enter into the Guinness Book of World Records. It meant a lot to his neighbours to be represented by the oldest man in the world,’ Carmona said.
Proving Nunez Olivera’s exact age has been complicated by the fact that most of Bienvenida’s public archives were destroyed during Spain’s 1936-39 civil war, according to newspaper El Mundo.
Nunez Olivera, known in the village as Marchena due to his likeness to a Spanish flamenco singer who used that stage name, had been a widower since 1988.
He fought in the Rif War in the first half of the 1920s between Spain and the Berber tribes of the Rif mountains in Morocco and survived General Francisco Franco’s 1936-75 dictatorship.
And until the age of 107, he went out for daily walks by himself, according to Spanish media reports published when he celebrated his last birthday.
He started to read again aged 98 after a cataract operation, one of only two occasions he has been to the hospital according to relatives.
In an April 2015 interview with Spanish daily El Mundo, Francisco said he would like to live a couple more years despite the fact all his friends were dead and insisted: ‘I know I’m old but I don’t feel old.’
His daughter added: ‘Some days he talks all day and others he sleeps all day.
‘Someone mentioned the idea of taking him to a retirement home once and it made me feel bad.’
With Francisco’s death, the oldest man in the world is now Masazou Nonaka who was born on July 25, 1905 and is currently 112 years and 189 days old.
In a statement, Bienvenida Town Hall said: ‘The day we didn’t want to arrive has come.
‘Francisco Nunez Olivera, or ‘Marchena’ as he was better known, has died aged 113.
‘He has passed away in Bienvenida, our village, the village where he was born and which he helped become known throughout the world.
‘He has passed away with the affection of his family and the admiration of those who knew him.
‘The town plans to declare a day of mourning in honor of our Favourite Son.
‘Rest in peace, grandfather of the world. We will always remember you.’
Regional president Guillermo Fernandez Vara added on Twitter: ‘Rest in peace good man.’
Until recently, Europe’s oldest woman was also Spanish.
Ana Vela, the third oldest woman in the world died in her sleep on December 15 at a retirement home in Barcelona where she lived.
The former dressmaker moved to Catalonia from her hometown of Puente Genil near Cordoba, southern Spain, in the 1940s.
The grandmother-of-four, who also had several great-grandchildren, lived longer than two of her four children.
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