An elderly Chinese man has died with somebody at his side after advertising for a new family to adopt him.
Han Zicheng, 85, began putting up slips of paper asking for adoption in December 2017 after becoming fearful his family would not be around when he died, The Washington Post reports.
- 75 percent of New Zealand elderly at risk of malnourishment - study
- Company hopes to reduce loneliness for better health in elderly people
- Mark Sainsbury: Stand up for our elderly or one day it could be you
"Lonely old man in his 80s. Strong-bodied. Can shop, cook and take care of himself. No chronic illness," he wrote.
"I won't go to a nursing home. My hope is that a kind-hearted person or family will adopt me, nourish me through old age and bury my body when I'm dead."
Initially nobody replied to his notes, but eventually a woman on the street saw the note and shared it on social media.
Requests began to flow in. It wasn't the family that he had wanted, but Mr Han managed to strike up multiple telephone friendships.
One of them was law student Jiang Jing. Ms Jiang says she last spoke to Mr Han on March 13, before missing a call from him on March 14.
When she next called Mr Han in early April her elderly friend didn't pick up, instead his son did, explaining his father had died on March 17.
His son told The Washington Post he was angry with local media for publishing the story of his loneliness and argued he was in fact well looked after in his old age.
He refused to provide the details of his siblings to confirm this account or tell reporters much about Mr Han's life.
But he did confirm on March 17 he called an unknown number on the phone, possibly one of the prospective adopters or another telephone friend.
Instead of dying alone in his bed Mr Han had managed to contact somebody, making it to hospital and passing away with somebody by his side.