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The oldest man in the world is Alexander Imich, a Polish immigrant who lives on the Upper West Side in New York City. Imich celebrated his 111th birthday in February.
Imich earned the title after Arturo Licata died in Italy last month at the age of 111, just a week before he was set to turn 112, the Gerontology Research Group of Torrance, California said.
When asked how he had lived so long, Imich said he didn’t do anything special. “I don't know, I simply didn't die earlier,” he told NBC New York. "I have no idea how this happened.”
In an interview with the New York Times, Imich also dismissed the idea that reaching his age is a special achievement. “Not like it’s the Nobel Prize,” he told the Times.
Imich only recently celebrated turning 111 last week, since he was hospitalized on his birthday after a fall. He was born in Poland on Feb. 4, 1903, only 10 months before the Wright Brothers’ flight and Teddy Roosevelt was in the White House after President William McKinley’s assassination. The Yankees finally played in New York for the first time.
Imich and his wife fled the Nazis when they invaded in 1939. At first, they went to Russia, but refused Soviet citizenship and were imprisoned. They fled Russia after the Germans attacked, arriving in what is now Uzbekistan. Finally, in 1951, they moved to the U.S. Imich’s wife, Wela, died in 1986.
He really had no answer for his longevity. He said not having children may have helped and he said he never drank alcohol and gave up smoking long ago.
Sixty-six women are older than Imich, including Misao Okawa of Japan, who is the world’s oldest person at 116.