Amou Haji, an Iranian man who hadn’t showered in decades, has died at the age of 94.
According to Iranian news outlets, Amou Haji avoided bathing due to believing that cleanliness causes sickness. Nicknamed “The Dirtiest Man in the World,” he reportedly hadn’t bathed in more than five decades.
In addition to dodging baths and showers, Amou’s diet consisted of mostly rotten meat and drank water he gathered in a rusty pail from puddles. It was reported that the man was examined by doctors earlier this year and was found to be in good health.
But, just a few months ago, he was washed for the first time, IRNA reported. “For the first time a few months ago, villagers had taken him to a bathroom to wash,” the news outlet said.
Shortly after bathing, he fell ill, “…And finally, on Sunday…he gave up his life.”
It is thought that Amou Haji never married and had no family, but was loved by the local villagers who built him a cinderblock shelter so he no longer had to sleep in a hole in the ground.
In 2013, a short film titled “The Strange Life of Amou Haji” documented his unqiue way of living. Despite being a hermit and having very little, Haji was reportedly a happy man and only got sad when villagers offered to bathe him.
In an interview with the Tehran Times in 2014, Amou said that his life choices were a result of “emotional setbacks” in his youth.
Following Amou Haji’s death, an Indian man named Kailash “Kalau” Singh could now be the World’s Dirtiest Man. In 2009, The Hindustan Times reported that the then-63-year-old Singh hadn’t bathed or brushed his teeth in 35 years.
Instead of taking a bath with water, Singh told media that he takes a daily “fire bath” to keep clean.
“It’s just like using water to take a bath,” said Kalau, who lights a bonfire, smokes marijuana and stand on one leg to pray every evening. “Fire bath helps kill all the germs and infections in the body.”
The man, who has seven daughters, told the Times that he has kept the ritual out of love for his country. But, some closest to Singh insist that it’s for another reason.
“A seer once told Kalau that if he does not take a bath, he’ll be blessed with a son,” said a neighbor.