World's Oldest Man Dead at 114

March 6, 2004; Madrid, SPAIN ( Reuters) -- A retired Spanish shoemaker born in the same year as Adolf Hitler and officially the world's oldest man has died at his home at the age of 114, his family Guinness World Records recognized Mr. Joan Riudavets-Moll as the world's oldest man following the death of Japan's Yukichi Chuganji, also 114, in September. Moll rated electricity the greatest breakthrough in his lifetime.

Riudavets, who attributed his longevity to a life of moderation, was born on December 15, 1889 -- the year Hitler and Charlie Chaplin were born and the year the Eiffel Tower was completed. He had been retired for half a century. He died at home in Es Migjorn Gran on the Spanish Mediterranean island of Menorca on Friday night, a police spokesman there said. "I spoke to him a few days ago and he had all his faculties," the spokesman said. "He spoke and reasoned perfectly well without any problems. It was a natural death; he had not been ill." Riudavets' Grandson said he was still taking walks at the end of his life and was always surrounded by friends. "He nearly always had people around him, and he had a great gift for words," his eldest Grandson, Pablo, told Reuters. "There were a lot of anecdotes."

Riudavets, who joined the family shoe-making business and retired in 1954, lived to see huge advances in medicine and science, but he never stopped marveling at inventions like the airplane -- first flown when he was a teenager -- and electricity. "The airplane was something incredible, but the most important change was electricity -- without doubt, it changed everything," the Guinness web site quoted him as saying.

He attributed his long life to doing everything in moderation, including smoking "but not too much." He used to sleep up to 14 hours-a-day but also enjoyed playing football and the guitar. Trini Pinto Alvarez, who lives in the village, said, "He was a shoemaker, he worked hard, had a good life... Everybody knew him. When he had birthdays, the village threw fiestas."