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Saturday, 5 January, 2002, 13:29 GMT
World's 'oldest man' dies
Antonio Todde drinking red wine
Todde attributed his longevity to drinking red wine
Antonio Todde, an Italian shepherd listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's oldest man, has died just short of his 113th birthday.

Relatives said Todde, who attributed his longevity to a glass of red wine every day, had died in his sleep in Tiana, Sardinia.

Just love your brother and drink a good glass of red wine every day

Antonio Todde
His funeral service was scheduled to be held on the island at the Cathedral of Santa Elena.

"He was lucid to the very end," relative Mariolina Todde told Reuters news agency.

"He was always joking that he was going to live to 130. Whenever we had friends around, everyone was made to drink to his health. Red wine, of course."

Todde was born on 22 January 1889 in a mountain village in the heart of Sardinia.

He worked as a shepherd all his life, leaving the island just once to serve in the military in World War I.

He enjoyed long walks and had a simple diet based on pasta, vegetable soup, red meat and cheese.

Sardinia study

On his 112th birthday, Todde spoke to reporters about the secret of a long life.

"Just love your brother and drink a good glass of red wine every day," he was quoted as saying. "You take one day after the other, you just go on."

The longevity of Sardinians is the subject of a scientific project on ageing.

About 135 people per million on the island live to see their 100th birthday, while the western average is nearer 75.

"To discover why Sardinians live so long we are researching the genetic long-life markers," said Luca Deiana, who is heading the project.

"We have already taken DNA samples from 337 Sardinian communities so we can look into the genetic and dietary factors that affect long life."


Todde inherited the Guinness title of oldest living man in December 2000 when American Benjamin Harrison Holcomb died in Carnegie, Oklahoma, at the age of 111.

Italy's oldest woman, 110-year-old Maria Grazia Broccolo, died only hours after him in a small town south of Rome.

Guinness lists the world's oldest woman as 114-year-old Maude Farris-Luse, who was born 21 January 1887 in Morley, Michigan.

The BBC's Caroline Thompsett
"Researchers have found a high proportion of Sardinian's live for a centaury or more"
See also:

13 Jun 01 | Northern Ireland
Irish tipple 'leads to long life'
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