THE tallest man in America who stood at 7ft 8 inches died on Friday aged 38 of heart disease, his family confirmed.
Igor Oleksandrovych Vovkovinskiy, originally from Ukraine, passed away at the Mayo Clinic Hospital Saint Marys campus in Rochester, New York, his mom said in a Facebook post.
He had moved to the US three decades ago to treat a tumor pressing against his pituitary gland.
The tumor was the cause of Vovkovinskiy’s immense size.
He reportedly spoke to his older brother, sister-in-law, and other relatives just before his death.
“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,” Svetlvana Vovkovinska wrote.
She also shared a picture as she gave her son a final hug.
Vovkovinskiy was crowned America’s tallest man in 2010 on the set of the Dr Oz show.
He beat the previous record-holder by a third of an inch.
“It feels so good to finally have proof that I am the tallest man in America,” he said at the time.
“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’s height made it difficult for him to perform everyday tasks such as getting into a car or finding a desk.
He aspired to become an attorney and earned a two-year degree from Rochester Community and Technical College, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.
The Ukrainian had previously sought help in buying $16,000 specially made shoes after his feet grew to size 26, causing him severe pain.
“I’d like to do simple things, like maybe go window shopping at a mall,” Vovkovinskiy said.
“I haven’t done that in about four years. Maybe walk my dog, go fishing.”
He had moved to the US when he was only six years old and had already reached six foot.
His family originally believed he would only be in the US for a month.
Vovkovinskiy’s health worsened in recent months and he struggled to walk.
Older brother Oleh Ladan told the Star Tribune he would “have rather lived a normal life than be known.”
“He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, occasional fishing and traveling, and helping the Ukrainian Army in any way he could,” his obit read.
His memorial service will be held on Saturday.
View more information: https://www.the-sun.com/news/3526483/tallest-man-in-america-igor-vovkovinskiy-dead-heart-disease/