A 112-year-old self-taught musician, coal miner and gin rummy aficionado from western New York is the world’s oldest man, according to Guinness World Records Ltd.
Salustiano Sanchez-Blazquez became the world’s oldest man when Jiroemon Kimura died June 12 at age 116. The oldest person is a woman, 115-year-old Misao Okawa of Japan.
Robert Young, senior gerontology consultant with Guinness World Records, said 90 percent of all supercentenarians are female, and Salustiano is currently the only male born in 1901 with proof of birth.
Born June 8, 1901, in the village of El Tejado de Bejar, Spain, he was known for his talent on the dulzania, a double-reed wind instrument that he taught himself and played at weddings and village celebrations. At 17, he moved with his older brother, Pedro, and a group of friends to Cuba, where they worked in the cane fields.
In 1920, he came to the United States through Ellis Island and worked in the coal mines of Lynch, Ky. Ultimately, he moved to the Niagara Falls area, where he still lives, and worked in construction and in the industrial furnaces. He married his wife, Pearl, in 1934.
In a statement, Salustiano — whose nickname is “Shorty” — said he was humbled by the attention and didn’t feel he accomplished anything special just because he lived longer than most.
“He says, ‘I’m an old man and let’s leave it at that,’” said his daughter, 69-year-old Irene Johnson. Salustiano lived with Johnson in Grand Island after his wife died in 1988; he moved to a nursing home in 2007.
Salustiano said his longevity can be attributed to eating one banana a day and a daily dose of six Anacin tablets. His daughter has another theory. “I think it’s just because he’s an independent, stubborn man,” she said.
Salustiano also has a 76-year-old son, John, seven grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and five great-great-grandchildren.
The oldest authenticated person was Jeanne Louise Calment of France, who died at the age of 122 years and 164 days.