Walter Breuning, the world's oldest man, has died. He was 114.
Breuning died Thursday of natural causes at a Great Falls hospital in Montana, Stacia Kirby, a spokeswoman for the Rainbow Senior Living retirement home, told The Associated Press.
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"I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend and a great Montanan," state Governor Brian Schweitzer said in a statement. "Walter taught me that all things in moderation will help lead to a long life; that hard work and a modest living are enough for a happy life and most importantly that giving back to others is good for the soul."Breuning attributed his longevity to eating only two meals a day for the past 35 years and always embracing change — especially death."We're all going to die. Some people are scared of dying. Never be afraid to die. Because you're born to die," he said.Born in Melrose, Minn., on Sept. 21, 1896, Breuning took a job with the Great Northern Railway in 1913 before moving to Great Falls five years later. He retired from railwork at 66, but continued to work as a manager for the local Shriner's club until age 99.
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Breuning had resided at the Rainbow Senior Living retirement home since 1980, where he kept active every morning by taking a stroll around the premises.He was declared the world's oldest man on July 18, 2009, after British World War I vet Henry Allingham died at 113.In recent years, Breuning developed a following after appearing on News Hour with Jim Lehrer
and CBS Evening News
. On News Hour
, Breuning showed off his sharp memory as he described his life during the Great Depression and said that the first president he voted for was Woodrow Wilson.
Watch Walter Breuning celebrate his 113th birthday
Breuning was married once to Agnes Twokey, a telegraph operator, from 1922 until her death in 1957. They had no children.The record of world's oldest man now goes to Japan's Jiroemon Kimura, who turns 114 on Tuesday.