Fredie Blom, the man who wished for nothing more than tobacco to roll his own cigarettes for his 116th birthday during the lockdown in May, has died.

Blom, who was a survivor of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, died on Saturday of natural causes at his home in Delft in Cape Town, Western Cape community development officer Gadija Francis told TimesLIVE.

In May, Blom’s wife, Janneta described how the lockdown ban on tobacco sales was a source of frustration for her aged husband. ‘He is stressed about having no more tobacco. He used to roll his own with newspaper, that was his hobby,’ she said. ‘Nothing can comfort him now. He likes to be independent and he is getting frustrated.’

Blom’s identity document showed he was born in the Eastern Cape town of Adelaide on May 8 1904. His life spanned two world wars and the rise and fall of apartheid.

One of his sisters died of the Spanish flu pandemic, which claimed an estimated 50 million lives.

Francis told TimesLIVE that Blom died peacefully, but his death left the community in mourning. She was quoted as saying: ‘This is an extremely sad time for everyone in Delft … I said to Ouma [Blom’s wife] this morning, he is now in good hands. We must thank God for the life that he lived.’

Blom had attributed his longevity to decades of work in construction, along with walking and cycling to work.

Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay


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