A Russian man who claimed to be the oldest person in the world has passed away at the (unofficially recognized) age of 123 years.
Appaz Iliev, from the republic of Ingushetia, near Georgia, was born in 1896, reported Russian media.
However, because his birth records have been lost, Iliev’s age cannot be verified by the Guinness Book of Records, which grants the title of the world’s living person to 116-year-old Kane Tanaka from Japan.
Iliev’s tips for a long life included mountain air, generosity, and avoiding doctors and medication.
“Our long living man, the eldest citizen of Russia, Appaz Iliev has died at the age of 123,” the head of the Ingushetia republic, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, posted on Instagram on May 11.
“Appaz lived through epochs and generations, raising eight children. He had 35 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren and several great-great-grandchildren.”
“He remained a kind and loving old man who loved this life. I know this myself because I met him several times.”
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Ушёл из жизни в возрасте 123 лет наш долгожитель, старейший житель России Аппаз Илиев. Аппаз Лоросович пережил смену эпох и поколений, вырастил 8 детей, 35 внуков, 34 правнуков и несколько праправнуков. Всегда оставался добрым, любящим жизнь старцем, в чем я не раз убеждался при личной встрече. Дала къахетам болба, Дала гешт долда! #ингушетия #нашистарики#евкуров#долгожитель
Yevkurov had been preparing documents to present to the Guiness Book of Records to re-exmine Iliev’s claim to be the oldest living person in the world, reported the National Tourist Union last year.
Iliev’s birth records were lost in 1944 when he was deported to Kazakhstan by Stalin, along with other ethnic Inguish people, where he lived in poverty.
Born in 1896 under Tsar Nicholas II, Iliev went to work at age seven as a shepherd in the Guli mountains, until he enlisted in the Red Army his 20s to fight the civil war from 1917 to 1922, according to a local report from RGRU.
According to reports over the years, Iliev lived a simple, healthy life in the mountains.
“He never smoked or drank alcohol, either as a young man or after,” his nephew told RGRU in 2016. “He eats vegetables from his own garden, fresh dairy products, fresh meat, drinks spring water.”
At 120, Iliev still had all of his teeth, his nephew said.
“Grandpa still has a good memory. In Ingush, he tells his relatives and fellow villagers jokes and epics, which he heard from his great-grandfathers,”
According to The Metro, Iliev disliked television and stayed away from doctors and medication as much as possible.
He rode a horse and tended to the cattle until he was the age of 117, according to RGRU, and at around 120 was still cutting the grass.
Ironically, despite being called “Russia’s oldest man,” Iliev never learned to speak Russian, instead using his native Inguish language throughout his life.
According to the Daily Mail, his grandson, Mustafa Iliev’s said, ‘Grandpa tells us the first thing is to be active, to be in motion.
“He loves to say: ‘If you see some man in need of help—don’t turn your head away. Jump up and help him.’
“His second piece of advice is to value what we have and to share it with others. He often kills his animal for meat and shares it with poor people.”
The Guinness Book identifies the oldest ever verified person as French woman Louise Calment who died aged 122 years, 164 days, on August 4, 1997.
Various other claims have been made in recent times of people living for longer than 116 years, but they have not been authenticated by the Guinness Book of Records.