Tallest Man in the United States, Igor Vovkovinskiy, Dies from Heart Disease at 38
Igor Vovkovinskiy, the tallest man in the United States at 7 feet, 8 inches, has died, according to his mother. He was 38.
Igor's mom, Svetlana Vovkovinska, confirmed the news in a post on Facebook alongside a heartbreaking photo of her hugging Igor as he lay in a hospital bed.
"Igor died on August 20 at 22:17 pm in hospital from heart disease," she wrote in the post. "He and his older brother Oleh were with him until the end. His last dinner was: a piece of Kyiv cake and Fanta."
"A few hours before his death, he was accompanied by Oleh's wife Alla and children," she continued. "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."
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The tumor was pressing up against Vovkovinskiy's pituitary gland, which caused it to secrete abnormal levels of growth hormone, the outlets reported.
His height ultimately caught the attention of millions around the world, including former President Barack Obama, who noticed him wearing a T-shirt that read, "World's Biggest Obama Supporter" at a campaign rally in 2009, USA Today reported.
In May 2010, when he was 27-years-old, Vovkovinskiy was named the tallest living man in America by Guinness World Records.
"It feels good to finally have proof that I am the Tallest Man in America," he said at the time in a press release. "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!"
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Two years later, Vovkovinskiy made a public plea to help him buy specially-made shoes that would fit him in a size 26, 10E, the AP reported.
Though the shoes cost an estimated $16,000 to make, Vovkovinskiy said he needed them because he never had a pair that fit properly and didn't cause pain, according to the AP.
Thousands ended up donating, helping him obtain more than double of what he needed, and Reebok later provided the custom shoes for free, the AP reported.
During his lifetime, Vovkovinskiy "enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, occasional fishing and traveling, and helping the Ukrainian Army in any way he could," according to his obituary.
Igor is preceded in death by his father, his obit states. A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday afternoon and the burial of his cremated remains is expected to be held at a later date.