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Alexander Imich, world's oldest man, dead at 111 in New York City

Alexander Imich, who died Sunday, said in April that exercise, eating little, drinking no alcohol and not having children helped him live to be the world's oldest man.
By Frances Burns   |   June 9, 2014 at 10:21 AM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, June 9 (UPI) -- A Polish-born chemist who survived the Holocaust to become the world's oldest man in April has died in New York City at age 111.

Alexander Imich died early Sunday, his grand-niece, Karen Bogen, said. He had been living at a senior citizens' home in Manhattan since 1986.

Imich celebrated his 111th birthday Feb. 4. On April 24, he passed another milestone when Arturo Licata of Italy died eight days before his 112th birthday and the Gerontology Research Group in Torrance, Calif., said Imich was the oldest surviving man.

Imich told the New York Times in April he had good habits, including taking regular exercise, eating little and avoiding alcohol. He also said not having children contributed to his longevity.

Imich was born in Czestochowa in southern Poland. After being rejected as a Navy officer, which he attributed to anti-Semitism, he became a chemist.

In the 1930s, he also became interested in parapsychology, researching a Polish medium, Matylda S., and writing a scholarly article about her. He also edited an anthology, Incredible Tales of the Paranormal, which was published in 1995.

Edward Mannion, a close friend, said Imich in his last hours believed spirits were with him and talked to them in Polish and Russian.

When Poland was invaded at the outbreak of World War II, Imich and his wife, Wela, moved to Bialystok, in the Soviet-occupied area, and ended up in a labor camp. They later moved to Samarkand in what was then the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic, returning to Poland after the war to find that many of their relatives had been killed.

The couple moved to the United States in 1951. Wela died in 1986.

Mannion said Imich left his body to Mount Sinai Medical Center for research.

Asked in April how he felt about being the world's oldest man, Imich responded, "Not like it's the Nobel Prize."

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