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War vet now the world's oldest man

BRITISH World War I veteran Henry Allingham is the world's oldest man at 113 following the death of the previous holder of the title, Japan's Tomoji Tanabe, Guinness World Records said yesterday.

"Henry Allingham is now officially the oldest man in the world," said a spokeswoman for the organization widely recognized as the authority on record-breakers.

Tanabe, who ate mostly vegetables and believed the key to his longevity was not drinking alcohol, died yesterday aged 113 and had held the record for the oldest living male since January 2007.

"He died peacefully. His family members were with him," said Junko Nakao, a city official in Miyakonojo on Japan's southern island of Kyushu. Tanabe died of heart failure, she said.

Tanabe, who was born on September 18, 1895, had eight children -- five sons and three daughters. The former city land surveyor also had 25 grandchildren, 53 great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren, according to a statement from the Miyakonojo city.

Allingham was born in London on June 6, 1896, and took the British title on January 19, 2007, aged 110 years 227 days, Guinness World Records said in a statement.

Allingham is one of only two surviving World War I veterans in Britain and the last surviving founder member of the Royal Air Force, according to British media.

His friend and chaperone, Dennis Goodwin, said: "It's staggering. He is philosophical. He will take it in his stride, like he does everything else."

Guinness World Records said the oldest living person is American Gertrude Baines, 115, who was born on April 6, 1894.


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