Oldest Man in US Dies at 110. His Brain Will Go to Science

'Super-ager' Morrie Markoff remained extremely lucid for his advanced years
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2024 11:10 AM CDT

There are fewer than 160 supercentenarians—people 110 and older—on Earth, and that elite group just lost one of its own. Judith Markoff Hansen confirms to the New York Times that her father, 110-year-old Morrie Markoff, the oldest man in America, died June 3 at his home in Los Angeles after two recent strokes.

  • Backstory: Born in New York City on Jan. 11, 1914, right before World War I began, Markoff grew up in poverty, trained as a machinist after dropping out of school in eighth grade, and dabbled in photography and sculpting in his spare time. He was married to his wife, Betty, for 81 years, until her death in 2019 at the age of 103.
  • Status as a 'super-ager': Markoff stayed "remarkably lucid" for his age, per the Times, which notes his brain has been donated for research on super-agers (those over the age of 80 who have noticeably agile brains). "Up to his final months, he pored over the Los Angeles Times every morning, discussed the war in Ukraine and other world events, and posted dispatches about his life on his blog," reports the New York Times.

  • Caregiver: The Los Angeles Times talks to Markoff's longtime caregiver, Rosario Reyes, whom Hansen says had a "remarkable relationship" with her father. Reyes would regularly feed Markoff his favorite dishes (banana pancakes, corned beef sandwiches, hot cocoa), help him keep up with current events, and plan for his next birthday party in January, for which he'd requested an exotic dancer. "He died in peace," Reyes said of his passing.
  • Longevity tips: Business Insider published tips last year from Markoff on how to live a long life, including staying active, reading, and fighting your own internal biases. "I am Jewish, and I remember when I was a little boy, we would pass a Catholic church, and my mother would spit," he recalled. "I was taught ... intolerance, but I learned tolerance." He added: "Nobody is born prejudiced. Prejudice has to be learned."
  • What to eat: In terms of diet advice, Markoff said he had none. "To all my readers who wish to reach 100, I'm sorry I have no secrets," he wrote in his 2017 autobiography Keep Breathing. He said at the time that he and his wife had "never taken vitamins or pills. We don't eat or buy organic food. We drink faucet water."
  • Taking on the mantle: It's not yet clear who the new oldest man in America is. The world's oldest man is currently the UK's John Tinniswood, who's 111.
More here on Markoff's life. (More obituary stories.)

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