Todde was born into a poor shepherd family in Tiana, Sardinia, Italy, on 22 January 1889. He was the third of 12 children. He had a long-lived family; his father, Francesco lived to be 90 years old, and his mother Francesca became 98. His sister Maria Agostina was still alive at the age of 97 at the time of his death. She died aged 102.
He spent most of his life in his hometown and left his native island just once to serve in the military during the First World War. In 1920, he married Maria Antonia, then aged 25, and they had four daughters and a son.
When asked about the secret of his longevity, he attributed it to a glass of red wine every day.
Todde died in his hometown, on 3 January 2002, at the age of 112 years, 346 days. His relatives said how his heart “just gave up”. In his final days, he told his daughter how he was feeling unwell and refused to eat.
On 28 August 1998, following the death of 111-year-old Antonio Baldo of Veneto, he became the oldest living man in Italy, at the age of 109.
On 4 February 1999, less than two weeks after turning 110, he became the oldest living person in Italy, following the death of 110-year-old Giovanna Lizzio of Sicily.
On 22 November 1999, following the death of 111-year-old Alejandro Rivera Santalla of Spain, he became the oldest living man in Europe, at the age of 110.
On 1 March 2001, following the death of 112-year-old John Painter of the United States, he became the world’s oldest living man, at the age of 112 years, 38 days. His record was recognized by Guinness World Records. He also held the title of the oldest World War I veteran.