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World's oldest man, who said secret was smiling, dies at 112

Chitetsu Watanabe had recently been honored by Guinness World Records as the world's oldest man.
Credit: AP
Chitetsu Watanabe, 112, poses next to the calligraphy he wrote after being awarded as the world's oldest living male by Guinness World Records, in Joetsu, Niigata prefecture, northern Japan Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020. (Kyodo News via AP)

A Japanese man who received his certificate as the world's oldest man with a raised fist and big smiles earlier this month has died at 112.

Guinness World Records and a local funeral home said Chitetsu Watanabe died Sunday. National newspaper Mainichi cited his family as saying he had not been able to eat recently and developed a fever and difficulty breathing.

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He is survived by his five children, 12 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Watanabe worked many years for a prefectural government in northern Japan. He grew fruit and vegetables on the family farm and loved cream puffs and bonsai. He used to say the secret to longevity was to keep smiling.   

Credit: AP
Chitetsu Watanabe, 112, celebrates after being awarded as the world's oldest living male by Guinness World Records, in Joetsu, Niigata prefecture, northern Japan Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020. (Kyodo News via AP)