World's oldest man dies at 112
ROME, Italy -- He was born in the year the Eiffel Tower was completed and Adolf Hitler took his first breath.
No less than 112 years later, Antonio Todde, the world's oldest man, has passed away on the Italian island of Sardinia.
"He was lucid to the very end," relative Mariolina Todde told Reuters." He was always joking that he was going to live to 130. Whenever we had friends round everyone was made to drink to his health. Red wine, of course."
Todde passed away quietly in his sleep after asking to go to bed early. "His blood pressure fell and he left us without a murmur," grandson Vanni Todde told the agency.
Todde's 112th birthday last year saw him entered into the Guinness Book of Records.
He said his life-promoting tipple was a glass of locally-produced red wine, made by his grandson on the same rocky hills around the Sardinian town of Nuoro.
Todde, born in a tiny mountain village in 1889, spent almost all his life in the region working as a shepherd.
He lived in the same house with his wife of 78 years, Maria-Antonia, all his life.
"His life was very simple but those 100 years, he lived them to the full," said Mariolina, saying he liked to play cards with his friends and go for long walks.
A scientific project called Akea is examining the life of Todde and his fellow islanders as part of a study into ageing and longevity.
Some 135 Sardinians per million live to see their 100th birthday while the western average is nearer 75.
Of Todde's own family, his two daughters are 78 and 81 respectively and his sister is 98.
"To discover why Sardinians live so long we are researching the genetic long-life markers," Luca Deiana, head of the project, told news agency ANSA.
"We have already taken DNA samples from 337 Sardinian communities so we can look into the genetic and dietary factors that affect long life," he added.
Todde, who was known as "little Antonio" had a simple diet based on pasta, vegetable soup, red meat and cheese.
"He ate everything -- the ravioli pasta we would make at the weekend, the Sunday roast. But he wasn't greedy," said Mariolina, grandson Vanni's wife and a youthful 68.
When asked about the secret of his long life last year, Todde said: "Just love your brother and drink a good glass of red wine every day. You take one day after the other, you just go on."
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