An 111-year-old New Yorker who lived on the Upper West Side and had been certified as the oldest man in the world died Sunday morning, according to friends who had been taking care of him.
Alexander Imich died peacefully at 9:03 a.m., according to his friends Michael Mannion and Trish Corbett. He had attained the rank of oldest man on the planet this April as determined by the Gerontology Research Group of Torrance, Calif.
- World's Oldest Man Lives on Upper West Side
Imich shrugged off the title in an interview with NBC 4 New York last month when asked for his secret to longevity.
"I don't know, I simply didn't die earlier," he quipped. "I have no idea how this happened."
Imich was born Feb. 4, 1903 -- more than a year before the New York City subway system opened, and the same year the Yankees played their first season in New York.
- Tracy Morgan "More Responsive" After Fatal Crash
Imich was born in Poland, and fled the country with his wife after the Nazis invaded in 1939. They eventually came to the U.S. in the 1950s. She died in 1986.
He attributed some of his health to a clean diet -- chicken, fish, no alcohol -- and participating in gymnastics and swimming in his younger days.
He was the world's oldest man, but he wasn't the oldest person -- 66 women outranked him, according to Gerontology Research.
An 116-year-old Japanese woman, Misao Okawa, is recognized as the world's oldest living person.
The rank of world's oldest man will now go to Sakari Momoi of Japan, also 111 and born just a day after Imich in 1903, according to Gerontology Research.