Indonesian who claims to be world’s ‘oldest human’ dies at 146

Indonesia says Sodimedjo was born in December 1870, although his age was never verified


News Desk May 02, 2017
Indonesia says Sodimedjo was born in December 1870, although his age was never verified. PHOTO COURTESY: ALI LUTFI/EPA

An Indonesian national, who claimed to be the world’s longest living human, died at the age of 146, reported The Guardian on Tuesday.

Sodimedjo, also known as Mbah Ghoto (Grandpa Ghoto), was born in December 1870, according to his papers. If the information contained in the papers were correct, he would have been 43 when the First World War started and turned 70 during the Second World War.

Interestingly, he was not recognised as the longest living human because Indonesia only started recording births in 1900. But officials said his residency card, with his birth-date, was valid based on documents and interviews with him.

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A heavy smoker, who survived with four wives, died this week in his village in Central Java, after being taken to hospital on April 12 with deteriorating health. Sodimedjo insisted on returning home to be with his family and died on Sunday.

By the time he came home, he started to eat less and less, said Sodimedjo’s grandson.

Indonesia says Sodimedjo was born in December 1870, although his age was never verified. PHOTO COURTESY: ALI LUTFI/EPA Indonesia says Sodimedjo was born in December 1870, although his age was never verified. PHOTO COURTESY: ALI LUTFI/EPA

“It only lasted a couple of days. From that moment on to his death, he refused to eat and drink,” he said. “He didn’t ask much. Before he died, he just wanted us, his family, to let him go.”

A former farmer and fisherman, Sodimedjo was buried on Monday morning in a local cemetery plot he had bought, which included a gravestone he had acquired years before he died.

In 2016, he said that he lived “a long life because I have people that love me looking after me”. He was a local hero and would recount stories of life under Japanese and Dutch colonisers.

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“Life is only a matter of accepting your destiny wholeheartedly. I have wanted to die for a long time,” he once told The Jakarta Post.

Sodimedjo is survived by five children, 12 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

His age was never confirmed independently, Sodimedjo does not even take the mantle of oldest living human in recorded history from Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 aged 122. The world’s oldest person alive now is Violet Brown, a 117-year-old Jamaican woman, according to the Gerontology Research Group.

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