World's oldest man who said smiling is the reason for his long life dies aged 112

Chitetsu Watanabe, the world's oldest man, died on Sunday (Feb. 23) at the age of 112. The news of his demise was confirmed on Tuesday by the organization and the funeral home handling his services. He was given the certificate of being the oldest man, by the Guinness World Records on Feb. 12 this year.

At that time, he said smiling was the secret to a long life.

How the end came

Chitetsu Watanabe

According to Watanabe's eldest son's 81-year-old wife Yoko, Watanabe recently developed trouble eating. He developed fever on Feb. 21 and had difficulty breathing, Japan's Mainichi reported. His funeral will be held on Feb. 27.

Watanabe was born on March 5, 1907 in northern Japan's Niigata prefecture. After acquiring high school education, he went to Taiwan at the age of 20 for employment at a sugar company. He returned to Japan after World War II and worked as a civil servant for the Niigata prefectural government until his retirement. Post that, he became a farmer and grew fruits and vegetables at his farm.

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

While receiving the Guinness World Records two weeks ago, he raised his clinched fist, with a big smile and said that the secret to a long life was to "not get angry and keep a smile on your face". He was conferred the title of the world's oldest man after Masazo Nonaka, the previous title holder, also Japanese, died on Jan. 20 last year at the age of 113.

Though he was the oldest man, he wasn't the oldest person in the world. That honor goes to 117-year old Kane Tanaka, a Japanese woman. She got the title after another Japanese woman, Chiyo Miyako from Kanagawa Prefecture, died in July 2018 at the age of 117.

Japan is world's top-most country for longevity. Here, life expectancy of women is 90.1 years, while that of men is 85.4 years.