A man from Zimbabwe died trying to fast for 40 days in imitation of Jesus. Khulu Reinfirst Manyuka, 73, left his home to pray by himself in the wilderness, not unlike Jesus' actions in Mathew 4: 1-11 and Luke 4: 1-13. He was alone when he died, so no one knows for sure exactly when or how it happened, but his body was found by a stranger about a month into his fast.

"After a month we got the sad news of his death," a close relative said. "He was a very spiritual man. It's unfortunate he had to die this way." Family members said he had no history of illness, was healthy, and looked young for his age.

Local police say Manyuka was not the first person to die from fasting. "Numerous" other cases had been reported. "We have received such reports before, but we cannot stop the public from fasting," a police spokesperson said.

Scholars disagree as to whether Jesus actually fasted for literally 40 days, or whether 40 is a symbolic number, and whether his fast involved a total abstinence from all food and water.

Facts about fasting:

 The maximum time a human can live without water is about a week. Though this estimate is shorter in difficult conditions like hot temperatures. This, however, is the maximum - three to four days is more typical.

 Humans can survive without food for about three weeks. Mahatma Gandhi fasted for 21 days.

 In 2006 a 34-year-old British woman died in her London home while trying to fast. She had hoped to only drink water and read the bible for 40 days. The devout Christian perished on the 23rd day of her fast. 

 Cover image: Wikipedia