Sanchez-Blazquez succeeded 116-year-old Jiroemon Kimura who died June 12 of this year. He is, however, three years younger than 115-year-old Misao Okawa, the oldest woman – and person – in the world, according to Guinness World Records.
The Guinness World Records committee relied on immigration papers, marriage records, census data, and new reports to confirm Sanchez-Blazquez’s age.
Sanchez-Blazquez emigrated from Spain when he was 17 years old to work in Cuba with his friends. After working in sugar cane fields for two years, he then immigrated through Ellis Island and moved to Lynch, Kentucky to mine coal.
He eventually moved to Niagara, New York in the early 1930s. There he met his wife, Pearl, and fathered two children. Currently his son, John, is 76 years old and his daughter is 69 years old. His extended family spans four generations with seven grandchildren, fifteen great-grandchildren, and five great-great-grandchildren.
Over the years Sanchez-Blazquez spent his free time dominating gin rummy with his friends, gardening, and filling out crossword puzzles, according to Guinness World Records. He credits his health and longevity to his daily banana and six Anacin tablets.
In 2007, he moved to a nursing home where he still resides. In ten more years he has the chance to steal the spotlight for the oldest authenticated age of any person. That record is held by 122-year-old Jeanne Louise Calment of France.