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Who is the oldest man in the world?

Saturnino de la Fuente, became the oldest man in the world in September 2021 when Puerto Rican Emilio Flores passed away, and was on the cusp of turning 113.

The Spaniard, who became the oldest man in the world in September 2021 when Puerto Rican Emilio Flores passed away, was on the cusp of turning 113.

The oldest man in the world, Saturnino de la Fuente, passed away in his home in León in the north of Spain, today, Tuesday 18 January, according to family sources speaking to the EFE news agency. De la Fuente, who would have turned 113 on 12 February, was recognised by Guinness World Records as the currently oldest living man in September 2021.

De la Fuente with his official certificate
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De la Fuente with his official certificate

De la Fuente's battle to be recognised as world's oldest

The Spaniard was officially named the oldest living man after the death of the Emilio Flores, of Puerto Rica, who was also claiming the title at that point, arguing he had been born several months before De La Fuente, although he did not have an official birth certificate.

Saturnino de la Fuente passed away “around 11 o’clock in the morning, having started breathing heavily, and in just a few seconds he went out like a candle”, said his son-in-law Bernardo Marcos.

De la Fuente had also had issues with his precise age, because his national identity card showed him having been born on 12 February 1909, although his family said his birth was in fact four days earlier. As was customary at that time, babies were often registered several days after birth because so many newborns did not survive the first few days of life.

De la Fuente and the tumultuous history of 20th century Spain

In his long life Saturnino de la Fuente survived the Spanish Flu in 1918 as a nine-year-old, and saw the reign of Alfonso XIII, the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, the Second Republic and the Spanish Civil War. He did not fight in the conflict due to his small stature (he stood just under five feet tall), but the shoe factory he worked in made boots for the army.

Three of his eight children predeceased him, the last in 2020 during what was his second pandemic. Last year he became the first in the region of León to be vaccinated against covid.

In total he had 14 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren.

Founding a football club

Saturnino de la Fuente was a huge football fan and was one of the founders of CD Puente Castro football club, nowadays Puente Castro FC), which plays in the neighbourhood he was born in Puente Castro.

He was also a fan of local team Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa, which plays in the Spanish Segunda Division B. The club issued a statement: “We mourn the passing of Saturnino de La Fuente, the oldest man in the world, a fan of the club who we will fondly remember.”

Oldest living people

The current oldest living person is Japanese woman Kane Tanaka, who was born on 2 January 1903 and is now 119 years old. She is followed by French woman Lucile Randon, who will be 118 on 11 February this year.

With the death of Saturnino de la Fuente, the oldest man in the world is now Venezuelan Juan Vicente Pérez Mora, who was born on 27 May 1909 and is currently 112 years old.