Image: Emiliano Mercado Del Toro.
Javier Gonzalez / AP file
Emiliano Mercado Del Toro speaks to the media in Isabela, Puerto Rico, in this Jan. 20, 2005, file photo. Mercado, certified the oldest living person in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records, died of natural causes Wednesday at his home in Isabela. He was 115.
updated 1/25/2007 4:42:42 AM ET 2007-01-25T09:42:42

Emiliano Mercado del Toro was born when Puerto Rico was still a Spanish colony and trained as a soldier the year World War I ended.

On Wednesday, having spent just a month as the world’s oldest person, he died at his home on the northern coast of Puerto Rico, his grandniece, Dolores Martinez told The Associated Press. He was 115.

“He died like a little angel,” Martinez said.

Mercado del Toro never married and had no children.

In the seaside town of Isabela, he became a local celebrity after he was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for his longevity.

“We’re all crying, but we knew this day would come,” said town spokeswoman Rosa Luciano.
Mercado del Toro became the oldest known person in the world last month when 116-year-old Elizabeth “Lizzie” Bolden died in December in a nursing home in Tennessee.

A 114-year-old Connecticut woman, Emma Faust Tillman, is now believed to be the oldest living person. She was born Nov. 22, 1892.

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