July 25, 2013 at 12:12 PM ET
With the recent death of a 116-year-old Japanese man, the new record-holder for the world’s oldest living man is a 112-year-old New York resident who is a self-taught musician and former coal miner.
Salustiano Sanchez-Blazquez from Grand Island, N.Y., has been verified by Guinness World Records as the oldest living man in the wake of the death of Jiroemon Kimura, who was recognized as the oldest man ever, at 116, on June 12. Sanchez-Blazquez was born on June 8, 1901, in a village within the province of Salamanca, Spain, and has five great-great grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
Sanchez-Blazquez is the only living male in the world who has proof that he was born in 1901, according to Guinness. The oldest living person in the world verified by Guinness is Japan’s Misao Okawa, a woman who is 115.
After venturing to Cuba when he was 17 years old with his older brother and a group of friends to find work, Sanchez-Blazquez emigrated from there to the United States through Ellis Island in 1920. He went on to work in the coal mines of Lynch, Ky., before moving to his current home in the Niagara Falls area to work in construction and in the industrial furnaces. He married his wife, Pearl, in 1934, and remained with her until her death in 1988. The couple raised two children, John, 76, and Irene, 69, who gave him seven grandchildren.
He grew up playing a Spanish instrument known as a dulzaina, a double reed instrument in the oboe family, and his current hobbies include gardening, crossword puzzles and nightly gin rummy games with friends. He credits his longevity to eating one banana a day and taking his daily dose of six Anacin tablets.
Sanchez-Blazquez told Guinness he “does not feel he has accomplished anything special” just because he happens to be living longer than other men.
The oldest person ever authenticated by Guinness was Jeanne Louise Calment of France, who died in August of 1997 at 122 years, 164 days old.