'World's oldest man' dies aged 116

A granddad-of-five who claimed to be the oldest man in the world has died four months after his 116th birthday.

South African Fredie Blom was the only survivor of his family after they were all killed by the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.

He then went on to raise a family of three children with his wife of 46 years Jeanette.

On his birthday earlier this year, he told local media he had ‘lived this long because of God’s grace’.

He said the hardest part about South Africa’s lockdown was not being able to buy tobacco to roll his own cigarettes – his one wish for his big day.

The country had temporarily banned the sale of cigarettes and alcohol to prevent more hospital admissions as it fights to contain the spread of coronavirus.

According to The Guinness World Records the oldest living man was British Bob Weighton, who died in May aged 112.

But South African media describe Mr Blom as ‘unofficially’ the world’s oldest man.

Family spokesman Andre Naidoo said: ‘Two weeks ago oupa (grandfather) was still chopping wood. He was a strong man, full of pride.’

But his family say they saw him shrink ‘from a big man to a small person’ in the space of three days.

He had stopped going to the doctors more than two years ago, claiming he had enough of being pricked and prodded.

Born in the rural town of Adelaide, tucked near the Great Winterberg mountain range of South Africa’s Eastern Cape province, Mr Blom died at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town.

Mr Naidoo said his death was ‘not a COVID death at all, it’s normal natural death’.

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