America's tallest man dies at the age of 38 from heart disease

America's tallest man dies at the age of 38 from heart disease

08/23/2021

America’s tallest man at 7-FOOT-8 is dead at age 38: Ukrainian-born Igor Vovkovinskiy dies of heart disease

  • Igor Vovkovinskiy, the tallest man in the U.S., died on August 20 at the age of 38 from heart disease
  • Vovkovinskiy stood at 7 ft, 8.33 in as he suffered from pituitary gigantism 
  • Pituitary gigantism involves a tumor on the pituitary gland that causes a growth hormone  
  • He came to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, with his mother after surgeons refused to operate on him in his native Ukraine
  •  He won the title of the ‘Tallest Man in America’ at age 27 

 The tallest man in the United States, Igor Vovkovinskiy, has died from heart disease at a Minnesota hospital at the age of 38.  

The Ukrainian-born Vovkovinskiy, who stood at 7 feet, 8.33 inches, was surrounded by family when he passed away at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, according to his family. 

His mother, Svetlana Vovkovinska, an ICU nurse at the clinic, revealed the sad news on Facebook on August 20.

She wrote: ‘His last dinner was: a piece of Kyiv cake and Fanta.

 ‘A few hours before his death, he was accompanied by (his brother) Oleh’s wife Alla and children. 

‘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.’

The Tallest Man in the U.S. Igor Vovkovinskiy, 38, died on August 20 in Rochester, Minnesota from heart disease at the age of 38 

Vovkovinskiy’s mother took to Facebook to share the final moments he shared with the world

Vovkovinskiy posted a YouTube video on October 2019 to talk about his valve condition, as a result of his illness, and how he needed surgery to fix it

 Vovkovinskiy was born Sept. 8, 1982, in Bar, Ukraine, to Vovkovinska and Oleksandr Ladan, according to Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home, which is holding a memorial service on Saturday.

He came to the Mayo Clinic in 1989 as a 7-year-old child, when he was 6- feet-tall, with his mother after Ukrainian surgeons wouldn’t operate on him.  

The gentle giant suffered from a condition called pituitary gigantism, which occurs when there is a tumor pressing on the pituitary gland – which produces a number of hormones – in the brain.

The tumor causes too much of the growth hormone, which stimulates growth and cell regeneration, to be secreted throughout the body.

Serious complications can arise from gigantism including high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes and heart failure due to enlargement of the heart.

In October 2019, Vovkovinskiy posted a YouTube video talking about his valve condition and how he needed surgery to fix it. 

He said: ‘I don’t how much longer I’m going to be in the hospital. For that matter, I don’t know what’s going to happen really for the rest of my life.

Vovkovinskiy branded himself ‘The World’s Biggest Obama Supporter’ as he is seen with Cannon High cheerleaders at a town event for Obama

Vovkovinskiy came to Rochester, Minnesota with his mother Svetlana (right) after surgeons in the Ukraine refused to operate on him 

Vovkovinskiy posed with family cat Katya for his Instagram 

 Vovkoviniskiy shakes the hand of former President Barack Obama at a 2009 Target Center health care rally in Minneapolis 

Vovkovinskiy pictured with his mother and relatives from the Ukraine

 ‘I’m in the heart failure unit and I found out just a couple of days ago that I need surgery to fix…some kind of a valve issue that I was born with. But I don’t know if even such a surgery can be done on someone my size.’ 

Vovkovinskiy and his mother were only supposed to stay for a short period to get rid of the tumor, but were allowed to stay after doctors couldn’t fully remove it, according to 60 Minutes Australia. 

‘I’m in the heart failure unit and I found out just a couple of days ago that I need surgery to fix…some kind of a valve issue that I was born with. But I don’t know if even such a surgery can be done on someone my size.’ 

Vovkovinskiy and his mother were only supposed to stay for a short period to get rid of the tumor, but were allowed to stay after doctors couldn’t fully remove it, according to 60 Minutes Australia.   

Igor Vovkovinskiy is seen sitting next to WCCO reporter Holly Wagner with custom-made Reebok sneakers

Vovkovinskiy carried in contestant Zlata Ognevich for the 2013 Ukraine Eurovision Song Contest

His older brother, Oleh Ladan of Brooklyn Park, Minn., told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis that Vovkovinskiy was a celebrity when he arrived from Ukraine because of his size. 

However, Vovkovinskiy ‘would have rather lived a normal life than be known,’ his brother said.

Vovkovinskiy appeared on ‘The Dr. Oz Show’ and was called out by President Barack Obama during a campaign rally in 2009 when he noticed him near the stage wearing a T-shirt that read, ‘World´s Biggest Obama Supporter.’

Vovkovinskiy traveled to New York City and was declared America´s tallest living person by a Guinness World Records adjudicator on Oz´s show at age 27. 

In 2013, he carried the Ukrainian contestant onto the stage to perform in the Eurovision Song Contest.

The Tallest Man in the World, aka Sultan Kosen, stands next to the World’s Shortest Man for a Guinness Book of World Records event

Kosen married his wife Merve Dibo, who stands at 5ft 8in, in his Turkish hometown 

The world’s tallest man resides in Turkey. Sultan Kosen, who also has pituitary gigantism, is 8-feet-3.

Kosen, however, received a life-changing surgery that stopped him from growing and is now married to his significantly shorter wife Merve Dibo.

He issued a plea in 2012 to cover the estimated $16,000 cost for specially made shoes that wouldn´t cause him crippling pain. 

At the time, he said he hadn´t owned a pair for years that fit his size 26, 10E feet. 

Thousands donated more than double what he needed. Reebok provided the custom shoes for free.

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