110-Year Old Author of "Keep Breathing Dies, He Lived Healthy till 110 Walking Daily and Avoiding Bottled Water, Scientist will study His Brain


110-Year Old Author of

The oldest man in America, Morrie Markoff, passed away in June at the age of 110. His family has donated his brain to science through the Brain Donor Project. According to Tish Hevel, CEO of the Brain Donor Project, his brain is "the oldest cognitively healthy brain that's ever been donated."

Markoff's daughter, Judith Hansen Markoff, shared with PEOPLE that her father and mother—who lived to 103—maintained a largely vegetarian diet, stayed mentally and physically active, and avoided bottled water.

At the time of his death on June 3, Morrie Markoff was not only the oldest man in the United States but also remarkable for having no cognitive decline from illnesses such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, which are commonly associated with aging.

"He was just an incredibly curious person," Hansen tells PEOPLE about her father, who was born in the Bronx but moved to Silver Lake, Calif., for work as a salesman and machinist.

"He was very interested in science. He at one time subscribed to Scientific American, and this is a man with an eighth-grade education."

Hansen shared that her father and late mother, who lived to 103, "walked three miles a day, late into their 90s. And I know that it was three miles a day because they went down their hill and then walked around a lake. And you can't cheat when you're going around the lake."

"They ate very simply," she adds, noting that they didn't eat fast food. "Never had any soda, no junk food at all,"

Hansen is also quick to point out that “mom shunned that whole fad of bottled water.” She continued, “They drank a lot of water but always from the tap,” explaining that her father trusted science and the routine testing of Los Angeles County’s water supply.

“She had an instinct about plastic,” Hansen says, sharing that when a recent study found that the average bottle of water contains 250,000 pieces of plastic, “My dad called me. He said, ‘J, mama was right. We were right. They should have listened to us.’”

He was also an artist, Hansen says, explaining, “The story goes that he was fixing a toilet, he took a piece of the toilet, it looked like a ballerina's dress on her skirt. And he made that into a sculpture.”

“He was just an incredibly creative person,” she shared about her father, who often posted his artwork and musings on his blog, making him the oldest living blogger. “Hopefully, the brain will find a large area of creativity.”

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