A man from the San Francisco Bay Area who may have been the world's oldest living person, and whose lifetime stretched over three centuries, died Monday at the age of 117.
Even though the family of Andrew Hatch never formally registered him with the Guinness Book of World Records, friends of Hatch and the mayor of Oakland believe he could have been the oldest person in the country — and possibly the world.
The oldest living man on record died Tuesday in Japan at the age of 112.
The oldest woman in the United States on record is Brooklyn's Susannah Mushatt Jones, who turned 116 in June.
Hatch died at home Monday, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, surrounded by his only child and other family members. He was also the grandfather Rue Mapp, an influential woman who founded "Outdoor Afro," an organization that "celebrates and inspires African American connections and leadership in nature," according to its website. Hatch lived in Oakland since the 1930s.
"He taught me the best thing you can give your children is love," his daughter, Delane Sims, told NBC Bay Area on Tuesday. "He would always say that if it weren't for me, he wouldn't be a dad. I always said, 'You started it.'"
Mayor Libby Schaaf announced Hatch's death on Twitter. She visited his home just after his 117th birthday. She was there to celebrate a fancy bed brought to his home by Kaiser Permanente — a nonprofit health-care provider based in Oakland.
"He was amazingly lucid," said Schaaf's spokesman, Michael Hunt.
Sims, founder of Senior Moments, said her family tried to verify through Guinness and the Gerontology Research Group that Hatch was the oldest person alive. But without a birth certificate, it was difficult to document his birth in Louisiana on Oct. 7, 1898. Birth records weren't required in most of Louisiana until 1918, according to the secretary of the state's office.
Still, Sims said Hatch's driver's license and his taxi cab license showed his birth year to be 1898. And in 2008, Hatch began receiving letters from President Barack Obama in 2008 congratulating him on his 110th birthday and each one after. He was featured in GQ magazine in 2015.
Hatch — a locksmith, cab driver and merchant mariner — lived a long and full life, family members said. When his wife died, he raised his only daughter alone.
"He worked three jobs to take care of me," Sims said. "Many times he had close calls. But we gave him the best care with what we had to work with."