Cigar-loving war veteran Richard Overton dies, aged 112

Richard Overton, the United States’ oldest man, who was best-known for loving cigars, has died aged 112.

The war veteran used to describe Tampa Sweet cigars and Jack Daniels whisky as his “best friends”.

He used to smoke 12 cigars a day, but was a picture of health until losing his battle with pneumonia on 28 December 2018.  

“These are my best friends since everyone else keeps on leaving me. I don’t inhale them. All I do is smoke ’em and blow the smoke out,” he previously said in an interview.

An unapologetic love of Tampa Sweet cigars

Overton unapologetically smoked cigars for 94 years, having started at the tender age of 18.

It was well-known that the inexpensive machine-made Tampa Sweet cigars were his favourites.

LIke clockwork, he could be found sitting on the front porch of his home in Austin, Texas puffing away at these cigars and perhaps sipping on some whisky.

On his 109th birthday, he caused a stir by telling the media how he’d celebrate.

He woke up at 3am, brewed a pot of coffee, mixed in some whisky, lit the first of his cigars and spent the day out there sipping and puffing.

Sharing health tips in the media

Overton was the third oldest man in the world before passing away. He began to attract a lot of media attention in his later years for remaining so active.

Sharing some tips for living a long healthy life in 2015, he said: “You’ve got to stir around a lot. Your muscles get dry, your blood gets slow. You need to get up and move around. If you keep your muscles sluggish, it slows your blood down.”

Military history

Born in 1906 to the modest farming community of St Mary’s Colony Texas, he served an established career in the U.S military.

He served from 1942 through 1945, fighting for the all-black 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion. He fought in the South Pacific, including battling in Iwo Jima, losing a lot of friends in the process. He fought in Hawaii, Guam and Palau too.  

After being honorably discharged from the rank of sergeant, he returned to his job at a furniture store.

He built his own home in East Austin, married twice and outlived both of his wives. He never had any children, but is survived by his cousin Volma Overton Jr.  

As the news of his death was announced, he was honored by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who tweeted: “Today we mourn the loss of this legendary American hero. May he Rest in Peace.”

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