An Iranian hermit nicknamed the “world’s dirtiest man” for not taking a shower for more than half a century has died at the healthy old age of 94, state media has reported.
Irna news agency reported that “Amou Haji”, an endearing nickname for an elderly person, died on Sunday in the village of Dejgah in the southern province of Fars.
Haji, covered in soot and living in a cinder-block shack, was reported by local media not to have bathed with water or soap in more than 60 years. Villagers said he had experienced “emotional setbacks in his youth” that led him to refuse to wash.
In 2014, the Tehran Times reported that Haji would eat roadkill, smoke a pipe filled with animal excrement, and believed that cleanliness would make him ill. Photos showed him smoking multiple cigarettes at once.
But a few months ago, villagers had persuaded him to wash for the first time, Irna reported.
After Haji’s death, the unofficial record could go to an Indian man who also had not bathed for much of his life.
In 2009 the Hindustan Times reported that Kailash “Kalau” Singh, from a village outside the holy city of Varanasi, had not washed for more than 30 years in an attempt to help end “all the problems confronting the nation”.
He would reject water in favour of what he called a “fire bath”. “Every evening as villagers gather, Kalau … lights a bonfire, smokes marijuana and stands on a leg praying to Lord Shiva,” the paper said.
Singh was reported to have said: “It’s just like using water to take a bath. Fire bath helps kill all the germs and infections in the body