An Indonesian man claims to be the longest living person in recorded history. Mbah Gotho, from Sragen in central Java, was born on December 31, 1870, according to the date of birth on his identity card.
Officials at the local records office say they have finally been able to confirm the date is genuine. If independently confirmed, the findings would make Gotho a staggering 145 years old.
Possibly not for much longer. Gotho has told local media, “What I want is to die.”
Gotho has outlived all 10 of his siblings, four wives, and even his children. His nearest living relatives are grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.
One of Gotho’s grandsons said his grandfather has been preparing for his death since he was 122. He has even bought a burial plot close to the graves of his children.
“The gravestone there was made in 1992. That was 24 years ago,” Gotho’s grandson said.
Gotho spends most of his time sitting and listening to the radio because his eyesight is too poor to watch TV. He has had to be spoonfed and bathed for the past three months as he has become increasingly frail.
When asked his secret, Gotho replied: “The recipe is just patience.”
He says he’s ready to go because all his grandchildren are independent now.
While records office staff say they have confirmed the birth date on his identity card, Gotho will not make it into the record books until the findings are independently verified.
If they are correct, this would earn him the title of the oldest person ever, a title held by French woman Jeanne Calment, who was 122 when she died in 1997 – 23 years younger than Gotho. Her claims to fame included selling coloured pencils to a “dirty, badly dressed and disagreeable” artist as a 13-year-old girl in 1888. The artist was Vincent Van Gogh.
A number of people claim to have broken Calment’s record. In Nigeria, James Olofintuyi claims to be 171, and Dhaqabo Ebba from Ethiopia claims to be 163 but they do not have verifiable documents.
Britain’s oldest person is Gladys Hooper, who still enjoys an early morning glass of sherry and a generous dollop of butter at 113, on the grounds that a dose of what you fancy does more good than harm.
A former concert pianist, Hooper has seen 21 British prime ministers come and go.
“She’s had a very happy and productive century,” says her 85-year-old son, Derek.
Hooper entered the Guinness World Records in 2015 for being the oldest person in the world to have a hip replacement.
Now living in a care home on the Isle of Wight, where Derek visits every other day armed with bananas and Ribena, the pair talk over the modern world. Hooper has an intense dislike of rap music but adores William and Kate.
She is proud that she still has her own teeth. “It’s true,” her son adds, “even if she does only have about four left.”