Fredie Blom, a South African, believed to be one of the world’s oldest men, has passed away at 116.
According to his family, Blom, who marked his birthday in May, breathed his last at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, on Saturday.
His family, however, dismissed claims that he died as a result of complications from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by coronavirus.
Gadija Francis, the development officer for the Western Cape community, said the centenarian died peacefully.
“He passed on this morning from natural causes. We think that it was his age and I don’t suspect anything to do with Covid-19,” Francis was quoted as saying.
“This is an extremely sad time for everyone in Delft … I said to Ouma [Blom’s wife] this morning, he is now in good hands. We must thank God for the life that he lived.”
Blom’s official documents claim that he was born in Eastern Cape province in May 1904, but this was not verified by Guinness World Records.
The deceased had a tumultuous experience as a teenager after his entire family was wiped out by the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.
He, however, defied the odds and would go on to survive two world wars as well as the apartheid crisis in South Africa.
He also went on to raise the three children belonging to Jeanette, his wife of 46 years, as his own.
Blom spent his active years as a labourer where he worked in the farm and then in the industry before his retirement in the 80s.
Despite giving up on drinking some years ago, the deceased was a regular smoker until his death and only had his intake of cigarettes reduced due to the nation-wide lockdown earlier imposed on the country to combat the spread of the novel disease.
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