Malcolm Eland, world’s oldest man, dies aged 72

It has never been clear how long 72-year-old Murray Eland lived to become the world’s oldest man. The secret to Eland’s longevity, they say, is that he never kissed anyone until he was 80….

Malcolm Eland, world's oldest man, dies aged 72

It has never been clear how long 72-year-old Murray Eland lived to become the world’s oldest man. The secret to Eland’s longevity, they say, is that he never kissed anyone until he was 80. By then he was married to his wife, Barbara, and they had two daughters. They went on to have seven grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

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His longevity has caused concern among some medical experts, but in the words of his 82-year-old daughter: “We don’t know, you see, we don’t know.”

The Yorkshire-born Eland died on 11 September after a brief bout of pneumonia. He had long been a celebrated northern tourist attraction, with fellow villagers tending his massive allotment.

“We are a quiet village and are close to our spiritual home which is the lake. Dad started here,” said 68-year-old Shirley Eland.

She had been a popular songwriter, but Eland is perhaps best known for his other passion: tending his allotment.

“There is so much growth,” said Eland, “and so much work to be done. You need as many hands as you can find.”

His eldest daughter, Fiona, said: “We are very sad to lose Dad at such a young age but he was very well looked after.

“Being so active, active and active at such a young age – I don’t know that other people have that. I think that is one of the reasons he has lasted so long – he is literally a gardener of the water.”

Eland was born in Ushaw Moor, near Wakefield, in January 1929. At 19 he spent the night at Wakefield hospital after suffering with dysentery and pneumonia and was suffering from what he later described as “slumps and mild mental problems”.

A diagnosis of muscular dystrophy meant he would always have to use a stick, and he made a steady living – weaving carpets, growing vegetables and growing roses.

He died two weeks short of his 88th birthday.

With the death of Murray Eland, the oldest man on the planet is now 124-year-old Jesus Sego. Born in Mexico City in 1900, he reached the milestone on 21 July.

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