man said to be 123 years old dies in Andean village
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[June 11, 2014]
LA PAZ (Reuters) - An indigenous man
in Bolivia whose reported age would have made him the oldest person ever
known, died on Monday night in his village near Lake Titicaca, his only
living son said.
Carmelo Flores, an Aymara Indian, claimed to be 123 years old.
Flores carried national identity documents based on a baptism
certificate showing his birthday as July 16, 1890.
But Bolivia only began issuing official birth certificates in 1940
and authorities were never able to confirm or disprove Flores' age.
"He died yesterday at nine at night," his son Cecilio Flores, who is
nearly 70, said on Tuesday. "He wasn't able to stand up, his foot
was swollen. Doctors told me that's how it is with diabetes."
Flores attributed his longevity to eating quinoa seeds and riverside
mushrooms, and to constantly chewing coca leaves.
He lived in a straw-roofed hut in Frasquia, a 4,000-meter
(13,123-feet) high Andean hamlet east of La Paz.
Flores said he fought in the 1932-35 Chaco War between Bolivia and
Paraguay, hunting skunks to nourish himself. He also briefly lived
in La Paz, but never took to the bustling capital.
He spent his
last years taking walks in shoes made of recycled tires and laying
on a blanket watching village life go by.
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The official title of the oldest person in the world who ever lived
belongs to Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died at 122 years in
1997, according to the Guinness Book of Records.
(Reporting By Daniel Ramos; Writing by Mitra Taj; Editing by Grant
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