A Brazilian man aged 126 years old is thought to be oldest living man ever documented, according to reports
By Matt Roper 3:33PM BST 15 Jul 2014
A Brazilian man whose parents were African slaves could be the oldest living person ever documented after receiving a birth cerficate showing he turned 126 last week, it was reported on Tuesday.
Jose Aguinelo dos Santos was born on July 7 1888, just two months after slavery was abolished in Brazil – the last country in the world to outlaw the trade.
Yet the batchelor, who never married or had children, still walks without a stick, eats four meals a day and has no health problems – despite smoking a packet of cigarettes a day for the last 50 years.
Jose – known simply as Ze – was apparently 26 when the First World War broke out, and already a pensioner at 65 when Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the British throne.
If the birth certificate is genuine, he would have been 52 when Brazil football legend Pele was born – and 62 when Brazil last hosted the World Cup, in 1950.
One of five children, Jose was born in a slave compound in the town of Pedra Branca in the state of Ceara, northeast Brazil.
He was among hundreds of slave families who continued to live there, even after being granted their freedom.
He later travelled south to the state of Sao Paulo, where he spent most of his life working on a coffee plantation in the town of Bauru.
Now a resident of an old people’s home in the same town, Jose likes to tell jokes and sing, hates having a bath, and never misses his daily plate of rice and beans.
Jose Aguinelo dos Santos was born on July 7 1888 Photo: Matt Roper
And he told Brazil’s G1 website there is no secret to living a long life: “The truth is that you just keep getting older. You take each stage at a time.
“If I got to this age it’s because I’ve lived a lot, that’s all.”
Mariana Silva, psychologist at the Vila Vicentina home, said Jose has no health problems and is so lucid he still amuses other residents by cracking one-liners.
She said: “He’s one of our most with-it residents.
“He doesn’t have high cholesterol, diabetes or high blood pressure. The only medicine he takes are vitamins and a tablet to give him an appetite, which you can lose with old age.
“When he’s on his own he likes to sing. None of us know the songs he sings. They’re from a time no-one else remembers.
“He doesn’t like to take a bath every day and it’s sometimes impossible to get him to the shower. When he puts his foot down, that’s it. No-one can get him in there.”
Jose, who arrived at the home in 2001, received his birth certificate last month after living his entire life without any documents.
A team of experts arrived on his birth date after researching his past and interviewing him about his earliest memories, during which he was able to describe the slave compound perfectly.
The old people’s home now hopes to provide conclusive evidence that he is the world’s oldest man through ‘Carbon-14’ dating.
Jose Roberto Pires, the president of the retirement home, said they are determined to do the test even though it costs around £13,000.
But he added: “We are trying to find a way to do it without having to pay. This is very important. We believe the world’s oldest ever person is living here with us, and this is the only way we can really prove it.”