Richard Overton, a World War II veteran and the oldest man in the United States, died Thursday in Austin, Texas. He was 112.
He was released Monday from a hospital after being treated for pneumonia and moved into an Austin rehabilitation facility.
Who was Richard Overton?
Overton was born May 11, 1906. He lived through the administrations of 18 U.S. presidents, starting with Teddy Roosevelt.
When America entered the second world war, he quickly volunteered to join the fight. In 1942, he joined the all-black 118th Aviation Engineer Battalion and served in the Pacific theater.
We are saddened that Mr. Richard Overton, the nation's oldest man, 3rd oldest living man in the world, and our Nation's oldest living veteran born in 1906, has died at age 112. "You don't know when you get here, you don't know when you go, it's in God's hands" - #RichardOverton pic.twitter.com/bZE48egckZ
— Texas Veterans Commission (@TexasVeterans) December 28, 2018
But what was the secret to such a long life? According to Overton, cigars and whiskey.
"I been smoking cigars from when I was 18 years old, I'm still a smoking 'em. Twelve a day," he once told a local TV station. He also said he ate ice cream every night because it "makes me happy."
Overton was a longtime resident of Austin. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted a tribute to Overton, along with a picture from Overton's 110th birthday.
One of my favorite moments at the Governor's Mansion was celebrating the 110th birthday of Richard Overton—the oldest WWII Veteran. Today we mourn the loss of this legendary American hero. May he Rest In Peace. #txlege pic.twitter.com/zIuGH3mDzM
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) December 28, 2018
In 2013, Overton was honored by former President Barack Obama at a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
"He was there at Pearl Harbour, when the battleships were still smoldering," Obama said of Overton. "He was there at Okinawa. He was there at Iwo Jima, where he said, 'I only got out of there by the grace of God.'"