Former 'World's Tallest Man' Leonid Stadnyk dies aged 44

Leonid Stadnyk shunned the spotlight

Leonid Stadnyk, who held the record of world’s tallest man, has died aged 44.

The peasant farmer from the north-western Ukrainian village of Podoliantsy died on Sunday from a cerebral haemorrhage, linked to health problems caused by his height, the Mirror reported.

Before he died, Stadnyk had grown to almost 8 feet, 5 inches (2.6 metres).

His height became abnormal when he was aged 14, and a benign tumour in his brain caused a gland to continually secrete growth hormones - meaning he never stopped growing. At its worst his condition, known as giganticism, caused him to grow at the rate of roughly one foot every three years.

In 2007, he was briefly named the world’s tallest man by the Guiness World Records, but refused to be measured by the organisation. The title was instead given to China's Bao Xishun, who stands at 2.36m tall. In comparison, the height of the average British man is thought to be 5ft 9in.

 

"We have contacted Stadnyk, but he seems like a very shy guy," a Guinness World Records spokeswoman said at the time. “He doesn't want us around. So we have to stick to what we have.”

31-year-old Turkish farmer Sultan Kosen currently holds the record, measuring 2.51m (8 feet, 3 inches).

Mr Stadnyk did not enjoy his fame, or his height. In a 2004 interview with Reuters he spoke of how his condition forced him to quit his job, and lead him to live a lonely life with is mother.

"For my entire life I wanted to be shorter. I was bowing down, stooping," Stadnyk said. “I have always wanted to be in the shadows. I tried not to stand out, but now..."

“There were no shoes, no clothes for me in the shops. When I was undergoing medical checks, they could not measure my height, the scale ran out. Then I became self-conscious,” Stadnyk, who worse size 27 shoes in UK sizes.

His height meant he could no longer be a veterinarian, as he could only travel by horse or cart, and could not find adequate clothing to protect his body from harsh winter weather. "I did not have proper shoes and my feet froze. I had to stop working."

He also dismissed the local media frenzy around him, and said he has no plans to capitalise on his extreme size and move into show business. He told reporters he wanted to stay near his mother, his best and only friend at the time, and work in their garden.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power