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Peru Claims World’s Oldest Person Ever at Age 124

VOA Learning English • voa
April 10, 2024 3 minSource

Peru's Andes Mountains might be home to the oldest person ever to have lived — at the age of 124.

The South American country’s government has claimed that a man named Marcelino Abad Tolentino from the central area of Huánuco was born in 1900. If the claim is true, he would be the oldest, independently verified human on earth.

Officials said in a statement that Abad “developed a healthy way of life and inner peace, reflected in his good health and friendly personality.” As a result, they said, "This allowed him, with resilience and skill, to overcome 12 decades of life and on April 5th he just blew out 124 candles."

Peruvian officials say they are helping Abad to contact Guinness World Records for independent verification.

In a statement, the organization told Reuters, "Guinness World Records receives many applications from individuals who claim to be the oldest living person." Verifying the claim would involve official documents and other evidence being carefully studied by a team of experts to "prove their achievement beyond doubt."

Guinness World Records currently lists Britain’s John Tinniswood, a 111-year-old as the oldest living man. The organization lists 117-year-old Maria Branyas Morera of Spain as the old living woman.

As for the oldest living person ever, that record belongs to Jeanne Louise Calment of France. She was born on February 21, 1875, and died on August 4, 1997, after living 122 years and 164 days.

Abad was born in the small town of Chaglla. He lived quietly until the Peruvian government identified him in 2019 and provided him with a pension .

Abad says his secrets to living a long life include a diet rich in fruits and lamb meat. He also likes to chew coca leaves, a tradition in Peru's Andean communities. The information comes from the pension program that Abad is a part of.

On April 5, Abad celebrated his 124th birthday with a cake bearing his likeness at a home for senior citizens where he now lives.

I’m Mario Ritter, Jr.

Hai Do wrote this report from sources including Reuters and Guinness World Record s .

Words in This Story

verify –v. to find out if something is true or real

reflected in –adj. a demonstrated quality that is evidence of another quality

allow –v. to permit or let happen

resilience –n. the quality of being able to regain health or a good condition after sickness or a serious problem

decade –n. a period of 10 years

application –n. a written request

achievement –n. a goal that is reached through hard work over a long period

pension –n. regular payments given to retired people to help pay for living expenses

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