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Emiliano Mercado del Toro; at 115, the world's oldest

Emiliano Mercado del Toro live in Puerto Rico. (associated press file/2005)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Emiliano Mercado del Toro was born when Puerto Rico was still a Spanish colony. He trained as a soldier the year World War I ended.

Yesterday, having spent just a month as the world's oldest person, he died at his home on the northern coast of Puerto Rico, said his grandniece, Dolores Martinez. He was 115.

"He died like a little angel," Martinez said.

Mr. Mercado del Toro never married and had no children.

In the seaside town of Isabela, he became a local celebrity after he was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for his longevity.

"We're all crying, but we knew this day would come," said town spokeswoman Rosa Luciano.

Mr. Mercado del Toro, who was born on Aug. 21, 1891, became the oldest known person in the world last month when 116-year-old Elizabeth Bolden died in a nursing home in Tennessee.

A Connecticut woman, Emma Faust Tillman, at 114 years and 63 days old, is now believed to be the oldest living person.

She was born Nov. 22, 1892, to former slaves in North Carolina. She now lives in convalescent home in East Hartford.

Tillman's great-nephew, former Hartford fire chief John B. Stewart Jr., has said she never smoked, never drank, did not need glasses, and agreed to wear a hearing aid only reluctantly.

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