ROCHESTER, Minnesota: The tallest man in the United States, Ukrainian-born Igor Vovkovinskiy, died at 38 years old of heart disease on Friday at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
His mother, Svetlana Vovkovinska, an ICU nurse at Mayo, initially posted about his death on Facebook.
After coming to the Mayo Clinic as a child for treatment in 1989, a tumor pressing against his pituitary gland was discovered, causing it to secrete abnormal levels of growth hormone.
Growing to 7 feet 8 inches, Vovkovinskiy became the tallest man in the U.S.
Vovkovinskiy was a celebrity when he arrived from Ukraine because of his height. However, his older brother, Oleh Ladan, told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, that Vovkovinskiy "would have rather lived a normal life than be known."
Vovkovinskiy appeared on the Dr. Oz Show and was mentioned by President Barack Obama during a campaign rally in 2009.
Vovkovinskiy traveled to New York City and was declared America's tallest living person by a Guinness World Records adjudicator on Oz's show at the age of 27, edging out a sheriff's deputy from Virginia by a third of an inch.
In 2012 he issued a plea for funds to cover the cost of specially made shoes estimated at $16,000 that could prevent crippling pain, stating that he had not owned a pair for years that fit his size 26 feet.
Thousands responded to his plea and Reebok provided custom shoes for free.
According to Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home, which is holding a memorial service, Vovkovinskiy was born on 8th September, 1982, in Bar, Ukraine, to Vovkovinska and Oleksandr Ladan.