‘World’s Oldest Person’ Mbah Gotho dies in Indonesia at 146

Photo: Video screengrab
Photo: Video screengrab

Mbah Gotho, supposedly Indonesia’s oldest citizen, has finally gotten his ultimate wish: to pass away.

The Sragen, Central Java resident kicked the bucket on Sunday, April 30 at his home. According to not-so-reliable Indonesian public records, he died at the super senior age of 146.

Mbah Gotho’s birthdate, which is specified in his KTP (Indonesian ID card), is December 31, 1870. That makes him significantly older than the verified oldest person in the world, a title that belongs to French woman Jeanne Calment, who lived to be 122.

However, Mbah Gotho’s early life records are deemed unverifiable by world record standards (Indonesia had not even existed as a nation at the time of Mbah Gotho’s supposed birthdate), meaning he isn’t officially listed as the world’s oldest person. In fact, there are two others without verifiable records who are purportedly older than Mbah Gotho – 171-year-old James Olofintuyi from Nigeria and 163-year-old Dhaqabo Ebba from Ethiopia.

But there’s a chance that Mbah Gotho would posthumously be recognized as the world’s oldest person. During his funeral, Mbah Gotho’s grandson, Suryanto, told the media that two medical researchers from the US visited his grandfather shortly before his passing to verify his age.

“The two bules were like doctors. They came to take Mbah’s urine, blood, and teeth samples for research in America,” Suryanto said, as quoted by Tempo yesterday.

According to Suryanto, the researchers’ preliminary test results showed that Mbah Gotho was indeed the world’s oldest person, though his exact age hasn’t been determined.

Sragen’s deputy regent, Dedy Endriyatno, backed up Suryanto’s claims. According to him, the Sragen Regency administration had sought the assistance of local researchers, as well as from the US, to verify Mbah Gotho’s age in light of unreliable public records.

“That kind of research takes time, it could be months before we get the result,” Dedy said.

Record or not, Mbah Gotho lived a full life. He outlived all 10 of his siblings as well as his four wives, the last of whom died in 1988. All of his children have also died, and now he’s survived by his grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.

When asked what his secret to longevity was, Mbah Gotho replied, “the recipe is just patience.”


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