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Tallest American, who stood 7-foot-8, dies of heart disease in Minnesota

Igor Vovkovinskiy (Pkantz/WikiCommons)
August 25, 2021

Igor Vovkovinskiy, the tallest man in the United States, died of heart disease on Friday. The 7-foot-8 Ukrainian-born man was 38.

Vovkovinskiy’s mother, Svetlana, first posted on Facebook about his death at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She and older brother Oleh were at his bedside.

Igor Vovkovinskiy (Pkantz/WikiCommons)

“His last dinner was: a piece of Kyiv cake and Fanta,” Svetlana Vovkovinskiy wrote on Facebook. “A few hours before his death, he was accompanied by 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.”

Vovkovinskiy had been living in Rochester ever since traveling to the U.S. from Ukraine seeking treatment as a child in 1989. Vovkovinskiy had a tumor pressing up against his pituitary gland, which caused it to secrete abnormal levels of growth hormone.

When Vovkovinskiy was 27, he was declared America’s tallest living person by a Guinness World Records representative on the “Dr. Oz Show.”

He drew national attention in 2009 when former President Barack Obama noticed him during a campaign rally in which he was wearing a T-shirt that read, “World’s Biggest Obama Supporter.” In 2013, Vovkovinskiy carried a Ukrainian contestant onto the stage to perform in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Vovkovinskiy, who wore a size 26, 10E shoe, was embraced by the public in 2012 when he was unable to cover the estimated $16,000 cost for specially made shoes that wouldn’t cause him crippling pain. Thousands donated more than double of what he needed, and Reebok donated a pair of custom shoes.

Vovkovinskiy’s official height was was 7 feet, 8.33 inches. He was born Sept. 8, 1982, in Bar, Ukraine, to Vovkovinska and Oleksandr Ladan, according to the Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home.

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