Alexander Imich, who was recently declared the oldest living man, died on Sunday in New York at the age of 111, according to reports.
“In my life, I have witnessed the development of flight, the automobile, electrification of nations, the telephone, the radio and television, atomic energy, the wonders of bio-scientific medicine, computer technology, great advances in our knowledge of the cosmos, men walking on the moon -- the list could go on and on," Imich said at the age of 99, according to a recent profile of him on Chabad.org.
Born Feb. 4, 1903 in Poland, Imich and his wife, Wela, fled the country in 1939 when the Nazis took over. In Russia, they refused Soviet citizenship and were sent to a Gulag, according to The New York Times.
When he emerged from the camp after World War II, Imich learned that many of his family members had perished in the Holocaust.
The couple emigrated to the United States in 1951.
Imich became the oldest living man on April 24 when Arturo Licata of Italy died a little more than a week before his 112th birthday. Imich told Guinness World Records that his motto is that one should “always pursue what one loves and is passionate about.”
For Imich, that passion was the paranormal. In 1995, at the age of 92, he published a book on the subject called “Incredible Tales of the Paranormal: Documented Accounts of Poltergeist, Levitations, Phantoms, and Other Phenomena."
Imich had a collection of forks and spoons that he said had been bent using the power of the mind, also known as macropsychokinesis.
“I watched ordinary people doing that,” he told the Times.
Imich, who had a doctorate degree in chemistry and spoke five languages, even tried to persuade his fellow scientists that the soul survives the death of the body, Chabad.org reported.
Imich was proud of his healthy habits as well, telling numerous news organizations that he didn't drink, had quit smoking long ago and ate very little. He also attributed his longevity to good genes, but kept a sense of humor about it, too. When asked for his secret, he told NBC New York: "I don't know, I simply didn't die earlier. I have no idea how this happened."
He also told Reuters that there was more to a long life than good genes and good habits.
"The life you live is equally or more important for longevity," Imich was quoted as saying.
At 111, Imich was prepared for the inevitable. Curious to the end, he looked forward to death as yet another chance at discovery.
“The compensation for dying is that I will learn all the things I was not able to learn here on Earth," he said, according to the Times.
Wela died in 1986. They had no children.
The oldest living man is now Sakari Momoi of Japan, born one day after Imich: Feb. 5, 1903. The oldest person on Earth is 116-year-old Misao Okawa, also of Japan, one of 65 women older than Momoi.