World's oldest man celebrates 113th birthday in Extremadura

Thu 14 December 2017 11:39 GMT | 11:39 Local Time

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Francisco Núñez Olivera, the Spaniard who holds the title of the world's oldest man, celebrates his 113th birthday today.

He was born on December 13th 1904 in the village of Bienvenida in Badajoz, in the region of Extremadura, western Spain, according to The Local.

Francisco - known as Marchena - fathered four children, and has nine grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. He became the world's oldest man in August on the death of Yisrael Kristal, a holocaust survivor who lived to the age of 113 years and 330 days.

He has been a widower since 1988 and his two sons have died but he lives with his eldest daughter, María Antonia, 81, and near his other daughter Milagros, 78.

He spent his birthday with Maria Antonia where he started the day with cake for breakfast and then read birthday cards sent to him from around the world.

READ: Want to know the secret to long life? Live in Spain

He put his longevity down to “good genes”, “hard work” and a varied diet of homegrown vegetables. He also enjoys a daily glass of red wine.

His brother Luis, who lives in Asturias, is 95 and his sister Jacoba, who also lives in Bienvenida, is 93.

"I worked in the fields all my life," he told El Mundo last year.

His ID says he was born on September 13th 1904 but his daughter says he is actually three months younger and was born on December 13th.

He was ten years old when the First World War broke out and in the 1920s he fought against the Berbers in Morocco during the Rif War between Spain and its North African neighbour. 

His secret to such a long life, he says is “to work hard. To not be weak and stay in the house.”

His daughter added a few more reasons as to why her father may have lived such a long life, including "a gentle routine in a quiet village, being his own boss, not arguing with the family and enjoying the good life – that revolved around the field, his house and the village bar."

He also has a varied diet despite not having had his own teeth for four decades.

His daily food consists of milk and madeleines (a light sponge cake) for breakfast with an Actimel. Meat, fish or stew for lunch, yoghurt for an afternoon snack and special cereal with milk for dinner.

He says he has enjoyed good health a kidney removed when he was 90, a cataract operation aged 98 and was hospitalized for a urinary infection when he was 108. He claims to have never broken a bone and to have perfect blood pressure.

While Francisco has the records to prove his age, they are not the originals – which were burned during the Spanish Civil War.

Spaniards have one of the highest life expectancies in the world, which is often attributed to the Mediterranean diet and traditional slower pace of life. 

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