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Oldest man in recorded history dies at 116 in Japan

TOKYO -- A Japanese former post office worker who was recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest man in recorded history died on Wednesday aged 116.

Jiroemon Kimura was born in 1897 -- the same year as aviator Amelia Earhart and the year Britain's Queen Victoria marked her Diamond Jubilee. He died of natural causes in Kyoto prefecture.

In December, Kimura was recognized by Guinness as the oldest man documented in history when he reached the age of 115 years and 253 days. He was also dubbed "the last known man to live across three centuries," with Guinness noting:

When the supercentenarian was born, Marconi had yet to send the first radio communication over open sea, Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula" had yet to be published, and the composer George Gershwin had not even been born.

He lived at home under the care of his grandson's 60-year-old wife. Kimura would greet almost any visitor from abroad with the English phrase he learned: "Thank you very much, you are very kind."

On his 115th birthday, Kimura told reporters he attributed his longevity to getting out in the sunlight.

"I am always looking up towards the sky. That is how I am," Kimura said then.

According to local media, Kimura ate a three-meal-a-day diet of rice, pumpkins and sweet potatoes.

He celebrated his 116th birthday on April 19 by watching a video message of congratulations from Japan's prime minister.

However, Kimura was admitted to hospital last month after contracting pneumonia.

He leaves behind seven children, 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and 14 great-great grandchildren.

Reuters contributed to this report.