04/05/2017 7:17 AM IST

Man Who Claimed To Be Oldest Person On Earth Dies In Indonesia, Allegedly At Age 146

The Guardian / YouTube
Longtime Indonesian resident Sodimedjo, aka Mbah Gotho, has died at the alleged age of 146. If officially verified, that would have made him the oldest human on Earth.

A man who claimed to be the oldest human in the world has died in an Indonesian village, allegedly at the ripe age of 146.

Sodimedjo, aka Mbah Gotho (which translates to Grandpa Gotho) was born, according to papers in his possession, sometime in 1870, the BBC reports.

But the news organization says since Indonesia did not begin recording births until 1900, there’s no definitive way to substantiate the claims made by Sodimedjo’s family.

He was able to produce papers ― including a residency card that indicated he was born on Dec. 31, 1870 ― which local officials told the BBC were valid.

Old. Very old, yes, but was he the oldest person on Earth? That’s still not known for sure.

Sodimedjo, who had a healthy appetite and was a heavy smoker, outlived four wives and 10 siblings, and had five children, 12 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren before he passed away on April 30.

When the BBC asked Sodimedjo in 2016 what his secret was for longevity, he said patience and “a long life because I have people that love me looking after me.”

The Guardian / YouTube
Longtime Indonesian resident Sodimedjo, aka Mbah Gotho -- a former heavy smoker -- has died at the alleged age of 146.

Last year, from his Central Java home, Sodimedjo, a former fisherman and farmer, told The Jakarta Post he felt blessed.

“Life is only a matter of accepting your destiny wholeheartedly,” he said. “I have wanted to die for a long time. My wives, children and siblings all have passed away but Gusti Allah [God] has blessed me with a long life. I have to live my life patiently.”

The last person known born during the 1800s, Emma Morano, died on April 15 at the age of 117. In May 2016, Morano was named the world’s oldest person. If research eventually confirms Sodimedjo’s claim of being born in 1870, that would mean he was already 145 when Morano died this year.

In the past 15 years, nobody has come close to the longevity of Sarah Knauss and Jeanne Calment, according to

Knauss lived to be 119 years old, while Calment, a chain-smoking Frenchwoman and our modern Methuselah, was 122 years old when she passed away in 1997. (She was the oldest living person in the world for more than nine years.) They are the only two people known to have lived past 118.

The Gerontology Research Group, which keeps an ongoing list of living supercentenarians ― those individuals who have reached at least 110 years of age ― never acknowledged Sodimedjo’s claims.