Who Is the Oldest Person to Ever Live?

By: Sarah Gleim  | 

Emilio Flores Márquez
Guinness World Records just named Puerto Rican Emilio Flores Márquez the oldest living man in the world. He's 112 years old! The110Club; Guinness World Records

If you feel like you've aged 10 years in the last 18 months, join the club. But feeling old and actually being old are two different things entirely.

Take Emilio Flores Márquez. Now he's old. In fact, the native Puerto Rican is 112 (almost 113!) and as of June 30, 2021, he's been officially named by Guinness World Records as the world's oldest living man.

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Márquez was born Aug. 8, 1908, in Carolina, Puerto Rico — the second-oldest of 11 — to Alberto Flores Melendez and Margarita Márquez-Garcia.

"I was the oldest of the children, so I did everything," Márquez said in a press statement. "I scrubbed, I took care of the boys, I did everything."

Márquez grew up working on sugar cane farms with his father until he married Andrea Perez. The couple was married for 75 years and raised four children until Andrea died in 2010.

Today Márquez has five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren and still lives in Puerto Rico, where his two surviving children — Tirsa and "Millito" — take care of him. Guinness World Records senior consultant for gerontology, Robert Young, confirmed Márquez's age.

Jeanne Calment
Jeanne Calment is the oldest person to have ever lived. She lived 122 years and 164 days.
GEORGES GOBET/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

But Marquez isn't the oldest person to have ever lived. That record is still held by French woman Jeanne Calment, who lived to the astonishingly old age of 122 years and 164 days. She was born in February 1875 when the average life expectancy for a French woman was 45.

According to The New Yorker, Calment outlived her daughter Yvonne, husband Fernand and nearly everybody she knew. She was still riding her bike at age 100 and was living alone at 110. She smoked until age 117 and never stopped drinking her favorite port. She eventually died in 1997 at the seriously old age of 122.

However, controversy has surrounded her after death — specifically whether she lived 122 years or not. Some have tried to prove with scientific evidence that Calment died in 1934 and not 1997, suggesting it was Jeanne Calment who died in 1934 and not her daughter Yvonne, and that Yvonne took her mother's identity to avoid financial problems.

Still others say that hypothesis is less probable than Jeanne Calment living out all of those 122 years — even in the 19th century. Whatever the case, the French — and Guinness World Records — still consider her the oldest person to ever live, and that's good enough for us. À votre santé Jeanne.

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