An Iranian recluse nicknamed the “dirtiest man in the world” has died aged 94 after washing for the first time in more than 50 years, state media reported.

Amu Haji died on Sunday in the village of Dezhga in the south of Fars province, Irna news agency reported.

A local official said the man had avoided “eating fresh food for decades” and believed that if he cleansed himself he would get sick.

Local media reported that he hadn’t washed in over half a century, and villagers said he had “bad luck in his youth” that led to him refusing to wash.

Once, Haji threw himself out of the car to prevent a group of men from his native village from taking him to the river to wash, Irna said.

However, a few months ago, some local residents persuaded him to wash it for the first time.

He fell ill soon after and later died, the news agency added.

Photos shared by several news outlets showed Haji covered in what appeared to be soot and smoking several cigarettes at the same time.

After his death, the unofficial record of the dirtiest person in the world may be passed to an Indian who has not washed or brushed his teeth in decades.

According to a 2009 Hindustan Times report, Kailash Singh “Kalau” claims to avoid washing “out of love for country”.

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Instead, he maintains his purity by taking a “fire bath,” during which he lights a fire, smokes marijuana, and stands on one leg while praying to Lord Shiva, one of the main deities of Hinduism.

“I will cancel this oath only when all the problems facing the nation are over,” he told the news organization.

It is not known what happened to Mr. Singh since 2009.