World's oldest man dies aged 114
Walter Breuning, the world's oldest man and second-oldest person, has died. He was 114.
Mr Breuning died of natural causes in a Great Falls hospital, Montana, said Stacia Kirby, spokeswoman of the Rainbow Senior Living retirement home where he lived. Mr Breuning had been in hospital since the beginning of the month with an undisclosed illness.
Mr Breuning was 26 days younger than Besse Cooper of Georgia, whom the Gerontology Research Group in Los Angeles lists as the world's oldest person at 114.
In an interview last autumn, Mr Breuning attributed his longevity to eating just two meals a day, working as long as he could and always embracing change - especially death. "We're all going to die. Some people are scared of dying. Never be afraid to die. Because you're born to die," he said.
Walter Breuning was born on September 21 1896, in Melrose, Minnesota. That first decade of the 1900s was literally a dark age for his family. They had no electricity or running water. A bath for young Walter would require his mother to fetch water from the well outside and heat it on the coal-burning stove.
He lied about his age and got a job in Minnesota with the Great Northern Railway in 1916 aged 16. He moved to Great Falls two years later and remained a loyal railway man for the rest of his life, working there for 50 years, marrying co-worker Agnes Twokey and travelling by plane only once in his life.
Agnes died in 1957 after 35 years of marriage. The couple did not have any children, and Mr Breuning never remarried.
In 1963 - the year the Beatles released their first album - Mr Breuning decided it was time to retire aged 67. But he stuck by his philosophy and kept working. He became the manager and secretary for the Shriners, a position he held until he was 99.
Mr Breuning moved into the Rainbow Retirement Community since 1980, calling home a spare studio apartment with bare walls.
Mr Breuning requested no funeral services, retirement home officials said.