The “oldest man” in the world has died four months after his 116th birthday in South Africa.
Born May 8, 1904, South African Fredie Blom had “lived so long by the grace of God,” he said on his birthday earlier this year.
The 116-year-old told local media that the hardest part of locking down his country was that he was unable to buy tobacco to roll his own cigarettes on his birthday, his only wish for that day special.
South Africa has banned the purchase of alcohol and cigarettes during the lockdown in an effort to reduce hospital admissions following alcohol-related violence on the country’s streets.
Blom, who was the sole survivor of his family after being wiped out by the 1918 Spanish flu, has been described as “unofficially” the world’s oldest man by South African media.
South African Fredie Blom said the hardest part of the coronavirus lockdown in his country was that he was unable to buy tobacco to roll his own cigarettes for his birthday (Photo: Blom smoking a pre-rolled cigarette the day of his birthday)
Guinness World Records lists the oldest living man as Briton Bob Weighton, who died in May at the age of 112.
After his family died, Blom went on to raise the three children of his 46-year-old wife, Jeanette, as his own, becoming a five-year-old grandfather over the years.
“Two weeks ago, oupa (grandfather) was still chopping wood,” family spokesman Andre Naidoo told AFP, recalling that the old man was using a 4lb hammer.
“He was a strong man, full of pride,” he added.
But in three days, his family saw him go “from a big man to a small person”.
Mr Blom, born in 1904 and the sole survivor of his family after being all wiped out by the Spanish flu of 1918, has been described as “unofficially” the oldest man in the world by South African media.
Mr Blom stopped seeing doctors more than two years ago, saying he was tired of being stung and pushed.
Born in the rural town of Adelaide, nestled near the Great Winterberg mountain range of South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province, Blom died in Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town.
His death was “not a COVID death at all, it is a normal natural death,” Naidoo said in reference to the coronavirus pandemic.