Jose Aguinelo dos Santos
© ALAN SCHNEIDER/GLOBO G1
Jose Aguinelo dos Santos.
Jose Aguinelo dos Santos, who lives in an old people's home Bauru, Brazil, was, according to the document, born on July 7 1888 - making him 126 years old. If the certificate is genuine, he is the oldest person EVER - beating Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who was born in 1875, and died in the town of Arles in 1997 at the age of 122. The oldest man to ever live was Jiroemon Kimura, of Kyotango, Japan, who died aged 116 in June last year.

Mr dos Santos, who is known as Ze, has never married or had children, eats a plate of rice and beans and smokes a packet of cigarettes every day.

The former coffee plantation worker was born just two months after slavery was abolished in Brazil. He was born in a slave compound in the town of Pedra Branca in northeastern Brazil.

He told Brazil's G1 website there is no secret to living a long life: "The truth is that you just keep getting older. You take each stage at a time. If I got to this age it's because I've lived a lot, that's all."

Mariana Silva, psychologist at the Vila Vicentina home, said Jose has no health problems and is so lucid he still amuses other residents by cracking one-liners.

Jose Aguinelo dos Santos
© ALAN SCHNEIDER/GLOBO G1
Jose Aguinelo dos Santos might be 126 - but he still smokes a packet of cigarettes every day.
She said: "He's one of our most with-it residents. He doesn't have high cholesterol, diabetes or high blood pressure. The only medicine he takes are vitamins and a tablet to give him an appetite, which you can lose with old age. When he's on his own he likes to sing. None of us know the songs he sings. They're from a time no-one else remembers. He doesn't like to take a bath every day and it's sometimes impossible to get him to the shower. When he puts his foot down, that's it. No-one can get him in there."

Mr dos Santos, who arrived at the home in 2001, received his birth certificate last month after living his entire life without any documents.

A team of experts arrived on his birth date after researching his past and interviewing him about his earliest memories, during which he was able to describe the slave compound perfectly.

The old people's home now hopes to provide conclusive evidence that he is the world's oldest man through 'Carbon-14' dating.

The home's president, Jose Roberto Pires, said they are determined to do the test even though it costs around £13,000.

But he added: "We are trying to find a way to do it without having to pay. This is very important. We believe the world's oldest ever person is living here with us, and this is the only way we can really prove it."