(AFP) -- The world's oldest person, whose life spanned three centuries, has died of natural causes aged 116.
Japan's Jiroemon Kimura, who was born in 1897, died in hospital early Wednesday morning, Kyodo News cited the local government as saying.
Mr Kimura, from Kyotango in Kyoto Prefecture, was recognised by Guinness World Records as the world's oldest living person in December 2012 when a woman from the United States died at the age of 115.
On the 28th day of that month he broke another record, when he became the oldest man ever verified to have lived when he reached the age of 115 years and 253 days.
However, he was well off the all-time record set by French woman Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the age of 122, making her the longest living person in history.
Mr Kimura, who was born the same year as American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, celebrated his 116th birthday in April, receiving a pre-recorded video greeting from Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe.
The centenarian had seven children, 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grand children and 14 great-great grandchildren, and worked at a post office for about 40 years.
After retiring he took up farming, which he continued to do until the age of 90.
Encouraged by Kimura and 94 other people in Kyotango's 60,000-strong population who will this year be 100 years old or more, the city has launched a research project to examine their diets and find the secrets of their longevity. Read more via AFP...