World's oldest person dies at 116 in Japan

TOKYO Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:17am EDT

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TOKYO (Reuters) - The world's oldest person, 116-year-old Japanese man Jiroemon Kimura, died on Wednesday, Japanese media said.

Kimura, who lived in Kyotango near Kyoto in western Japan, had been hospitalized for pneumonia since last month.

He became the world's oldest person on December 17, 2012, after the former title holder, a 115-year-old woman from Iowa died, according to Guinness World Records.

Kimura was born in 1897 the same year as aviator Amelia Earhart and the year Queen Victoria marked her Diamond Jubilee. He worked as a postal employee and as a farmer at his home.

On his 115th birthday, Kimura 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," Kimura said then.

Kimura is survived by seven children, 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, and 15 great-great-grandchildren, Japanese media said.

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

(Reporting by Reuters television, Editing by Kevin Krolicki and Michael Perry)

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