Eleven days after receiving the Guinness World record for being the oldest man alive, Chitetsu Watanabe passed away on Feb. 23, 2020. No cause of death has been released. A few days before his death, Watanabe developed a fever, breathing became difficult, and he could not eat.
On Feb. 12, when he received the certificate from Guinness, he was 112 years and 344 days old.
Watanabe was born in Niigata, Japan on March 5, 1907, and was one of eight children of his parents, Haruzo and Miya.
After he graduated from agricultural school, he became a staff member at Dai-Nippon Meiji Sugar, moving to help finish the sugar cane plantation contract the company had there.
Watanabe spent 18 years in Taiwan, married his wife Mitsue, and four of his five children were born there.
Toward the end of the Pacific War in 1944, he served in the military. After the war, he returned to his home town. He joined a branch of the agricultural office, Niigata Prefectural until he retired.
Retiring did not keep Watanabe from being active. In 1974 he and his son, Tetsuo, built the new family home and a small farm. He helped grow all kinds of produce like strawberries, plums, tomatoes, and potatoes until he was 104.
He is survived by his five children, 12 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
He will forever be known for the man with a smile that can help one live longer.
By Sheena Robertson
USA Today: Guinness World Records oldest man, who said secret to long life was smiling, dies at 112
NBC: World’s oldest man, who said secret was smiling, dies at 112
CNN: World’s oldest living man has died at age 112 in Japan
Guinness World Records: Japan’s Chitetsu Watanabe confirmed as the world’s oldest man living at 112 years old
Image Courtesy of Yamanaka Tamaki’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License