“‘He was a beautiful human being,” says explorer Alvaro Cerezo of the remarkable Ho Van Lang, one of history’s greatest survivalists.
Some knew him as the ‘real-life Tarzan’. To others, he was simply a man wishing to live life as he saw fit. Ho Van Lang would live in the jungle of Vietnam for over 40 years. But after one decade spent back in ‘civilization’, Lang has died of cancer. He was 52-years-old.
Lang’s death Monday, September 13, 2021, comes after a life lived more fascinating than any fiction. His father would flee into the wilderness in 1972, becoming a survivalist after the U.S. bombing of Vietnam killed most of his family.
Ho Van Lang was only 2-years-old when his father took him into the jungle, where they would survive for over 40 years with no contact with the ‘modern world.’
Once they reemerged, The Daily Mail cites that both men believed the Vietnam War to still be ravaging their country.
From 2013 on, Lang would live a relatively modern life, leaving his survivalist days behind. The friends he made in this new life, however, believe the stress, diet, and habits of society are what led to his cancer and death.
Perhaps the closest friend Lang would come to know is Alvaro Cerezo, an explorer and wilderness guide. Cerezo believes that access to processed foods, alcohol, and cigarettes are what killed his beloved, one-of-a-kind friend.
Remarkable Survivalist Ho Van Lang ‘Foraged’ and ‘Planted Corn’ for 40+ Years
“I’m so sad to see him go, but for me his passing is also a liberation because I know he was suffering in the last months,” Cerezo tells Daily Mail Monday.
“He was a beautiful human being, to forget him will be impossible, I will miss him everyday.”
Cerezo adds that he did not enjoy seeing his friend living in civilization. “I was always concerned that he and his body wouldn’t be able to handle such a drastic change,” he says of Lang.
Lang’s life began in the little village of Tra Kem, with the Vietnam War forcing him and his father to become survivalists. In the jungle, they would survive for over 40 years by foraging native fruit and cassava. The duo also planted their own corn, which they would harvest as needed.
For clothing, each wore incredible garments made completely from local tree bark. Their home was a literal treehouse, fashioned from timber and vines a dozen feet above the jungle floor.
“After spending less than a day with him I realized he was one of the most endearing people I have ever met,” Cerezo continues of his late friend. ‘The connection between us was immediate because Lang never imagined someone would be interested in his survivalist skills, and he was so happy to show me them all.”
Their bond was so great, that Lang would take Cerezo deep into the jungle to show him the place where he spent the majority of his life.
There, they would spend a week together living as Lang once had with his late father.
“Everything that would take me hours to achieve, he could do it in seconds,” Cerezo recalls. “He was a [survivalist] with the skills of a super human.”