When Walter Breuning, then the world’s oldest man, died last week at the age of 114, it was a timely reminder of this. He could tell stories about times before the First World War, such as when he lied about his age to get a job on the Great Northern Railway at 16, working seven days a week and earning $90 a month – “a lot of money at that time.”
Walter attributed his age to keeping himself occupied. "Everybody says your mind is the most important thing about your body,” he said. “Your mind and your body. You keep both busy, and by God you'll be here a long time.”
He leaves behind the world’s oldest person, Besse Cooper – now nearly 115 – who lives in Georgia, USA, and is a great-great-grandparent.
Other supercentenarians – the title for those over 110 years of age – include Chiyono Hasegawa, the oldest living Japanese person, and Venere Pizzinato, who grew up in the Austro-Hungarian empire and is now the oldest person in Europe at 114 years of age.
The oldest person of all time remains Jeanne Calment, who grew up in 19th Century France and died in the late 1990s, at the age of 122.
Less than 100 verified people can claim the status of supercentenarian today, although far more are thought to exist.
What about your own family tree? Have had had any long living family members, those reaching 100 and beyond? Let us know in the comments down below!
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