Fredie Blom

Fredie Blom enjoying a cigarette as he celebrated his 116th birthday on 8 May 2020. Photo: AFP/RODGER BOSCH

Fredie Blom passes away, aged 116

Fredie Blom, one of the oldest men in the world, turned 116 on 8 May 2020. Having lived through the Spanish Flu pandemic, Blom was “unfazed” by COVID-19.

Fredie Blom

Fredie Blom enjoying a cigarette as he celebrated his 116th birthday on 8 May 2020. Photo: AFP/RODGER BOSCH

One of the oldest men in the world, Fredie Blom, passed away early Saturday morning, 22 August 2020. The news was shared on social media by television anchor Doreen Morris, who wrote:

“Oom Fredie Blom, 116, went to his eternal rest at 6:00 [Saturday] morning. ‘He has fought the good fight, he has finished the course, he has kept the faith'”.

RIP Fredie Blom

Morris, who profiled Blom back in 2018, thanked everyone “who showed him so much love,” and said on Twitter that meeting him had enriched her life. Morris paid him a visit last week.

Due to social distancing and pandemic protocols, Morris remained outside, but delivered a carton of Rothmans “that a kind gentleman called Franna had skarelled for him in Mossel Bay”. Morris adds:

“I was so sad that he was having to decide between paying R185 for a single packet of contraband and funeral insurance.”

Blom critical of pandemic lockdown

During an interview with AFP in May 2020, Blom criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa for his handling of lockdown, especially the cigarette ban, and said the president “doesn’t know what he’s doing”.

All Blom wanted for his birthday was cigarettes. It is not yet clear how Blom passed away, but according to Morris, he had been ill for some time. Morris explains:

“Although he had been quite ill, he seemed to have rallied somewhat on Monday. I saw him walking to the bathroom and that sight made us happy. By Thursday he said that he had had enough and was admitted. I am thankful […] that the end came quickly”.

Blom turned 116 on 8 May 2020, at the time “unfazed by the coronavirus pandemic”. In an interview with Aljazeera, Blom explained that he lost his sister during the Spanish flu pandemic more than 100 years ago.

‘God’s grace’

He said he has “lived this long because of God’s grace”. Blom was born in Adelaide, a rural town in the Eastern Cape, in 1904 and spent most of his life working on farms around the area.

In the same interview, Blom joked that he impressed his 86-year-old wife, Jeanette, with his “jive moves”. The couple had been married for nearly five decades. He loved animals and gardening. 

Unfortunately, Blom’s age was never verified by the Guinness Book of World Records. However, Blom was older than the Guinness’ official oldest living man at the world, 112-year-old British resident named Bob Weighton.

As of 22 August 2020, the oldest known living person in the world is Kane Tanaka of Japan, aged 117 years, 233 days.