Igor Vovkovinskiy was best known for reaching great heights, literally.
He was deemed as the tallest man in the U.S. during his life. Vovkovinskiy recently passed away at the age of 38. He was just over 7 feet, 8 inches tall. His height had unfortunately been a result of several different health issues.
According to Star Tribune, his tall size was due to a tumor that pressed against his pituitary gland. This would cause the gland to secrete an excess amount of growth hormones. As a result, Vovkovinskiy also had diabetes and other serious health problems. He died from heart disease Friday.
Vovkovinskiy was a lot more than just a man of above-average height. He had moved from Ukraine during the Cold War of the late 1980s. Vovkovinskiy ended up making Rochester, Minnesota his home. He moved in order to seek treatment at the Mayo Clinic for his different health problems.
He was always talking about the challenges of his height in society.
Vovkovinskiy Fame as Tallest Man in U.S.
During an interview with “60 Minutes Australia,” Vovkovinskiy opened up about his thought processes as a person society deemed “abnormal.”
“I always have to think about: Am I endangering my life? Nothing is built for my size so everything is a challenge,” he said to the news outlet. Igor Vovkovinskiy had reached minor celebrity status during his life. President Barack Obama mentioned him during a campaign rally in 2009 and he was even on “The Dr. Oz Show.” He was the feature of a 2007 show called, “Inside Extraordinary Humans: The Science of Gigantism.”
It was on “The Dr. Oz Show” that he was declared the tallest person living in America by a Guinness World Records adjudicator. Vovkovinskiy also had size 26 feet, which made finding shoes exceptionally difficult. He also suffered from intense pain in his feet. He once made a plea on social media for donations to help him buy a $16,000 pair of shoes that were made specifically for him.
Vovkovinskiy made thousands more than what he needed and the fame got him noticed by the Minnesota Timberwolves. They invited him to a game and Reebok would provide a free pair of the shoes he needed.
Social Media Remembers Igor Vovkovinskiy
Since his passing, countless people have offered their condolences via social media. One person wrote, “Rest in peace Igor Vovkovinskiy. I met you a few times and had a few conversations with you while you were at work. You were always a wonderful human being and so many people in the local community will miss you greatly.”
Fans were also looking back at his special appearance during Eurovision 2013. He carried Ukraine’s Zlata Ognevich onto the stage. Her performance of “Gravity” came in third.
He is survived by his brother, Oleh Ladan, his niece, nephew, and mother, as well as his stepsister.