Igor Vovkovinskiy, said to be the tallest man in the US at 7 feet and 8.33 inches, died on Friday at the age of 39, his mother Svetlana Vovkovinska confirmed.
Vovkovinskiy was the Guinness record holder in the US for the tallest living man. He died from a heart disease in hospital with his brother, wife and his children by his side, said a Facebook post uploaded by Ms Vovkovinska.
Vovkovinskiy, at the age of 27, was declared the US’s tallest living person by the Guinness World Records. The announcement was made during a segment of The Dr Oz Show in 2010.
“It feels good to finally have proof that I am the tallest man in America,” Vovkovinskiy had said 2010. “Everyone is always asking me if I’m certain that I’m the tallest and I was never able to prove it. Now that I have this certificate to hang on my wall, I could finally show it!”
Vovkovinskiy came to Rochester in Minnesota state from Ukraine in 1989 to get treated for a condition known as pituitary gigantism. A tumour pressing against his pituitary gland caused it to secrete abnormal levels of growth hormone, according to his Facebook page.
He used to wear a shoe size of 24 10-E, said Guinness and faced challenges fitting into cars and finding comfortable shoes.
In 2012, Vovkovinskiy filed a plea to help him cover the cost of $16,000 for specially made shoes that would not cause him crippling pain. At the time, he said he did not own shoes that fit him for years. Thousands of people subsequently donated money to him and Reebok provided him custom-made shoes for free.
He was also given a shout out by former president Barack Obama during a campaign rally in 2009 after he noticed him near the stage wearing a T-shirt that read “World’s Biggest Obama Supporter.”
“His last dinner was: a piece of Kyiv cake and Fanta. A few hours before his death, he was accompanied by Oleh’s [his elder brother Oleh Ladan] wife Alla and children,” his mother said in the Facebook post.
“Igor was glad to see them, and although it was difficult for him to speak, he tried to joke about his nephew Andriy, whether he had learned the Ukrainian language in a month in Ukraine.”
His online obituary stated that his memorial service will be held on 28 August with a burial taking place on a later date. It said he was born on 8 September 1982 in Bar, Ukraine to Vovkovinska and Oleksandr Ladan.
Sultan Kösen from Turkey became the tallest man in the world in 2016, according to the Guinness World Records. He is said to be more than 8ft 2in tall. The tallest person to be ever recorded was Robert Pershing Wadlow, from Illinois at 8ft 11in.
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