Igor Vovkovinskiy, Tallest Man in the U.S., Dead at 38

In 2010, Ukrainian-born Igor Vovkovinskiy, who measured 7 feet, 8.33 inches, was named America's tallest living person by Guinness World Records.

By McKenna Aiello Aug 24, 2021 2:02 AMTags

The tallest living man in the United States has passed away at just 38 years old. 

Igor Vovkovinskiy, who stood at 7 feet, 8.33 inches, died in Minnesota on Friday, Aug. 20, the Associated Press via NBC News reported. Igor's mother, Svetlana Vovkovinska, confirmed he succumbed to heart disease in a post on Facebook.

Her message read, "Igor died on August 20 at 22:17 pm in hospital from heart disease. He and his older brother Oleh were with him until the end. His last dinner was: a piece of Kyiv cake and Fanta."

In the hours leading up to Igor's passing, Svetlana said he was able to spend time with his brother's children. "Igor was glad to see them," she wrote, "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."

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According to the AP, Igor came to the U.S. from Ukraine in 1989 to seek treatment for a brain tumor pressing up against his pituitary gland, which led to abnormal levels of growth hormones in Igor's body. 

Then in 2010 at the age of 27, Guinness World Records named Igor the tallest living man in America during an appearance on The Dr. Oz Show

Genevieve Ross/Getty Images

Igor, who resided in Rochester, Minn., was often candid about the struggles he faced because of his stature. Severe physical pain left Igor bedridden for weeks at a time and in his later years he underwent 16 surgeries to ease the suffering, he told 60 Minutes Australia

"I've never been more scared of my life than during these six years that I've had to stay at home because it's the first time in my life where I've contemplated suicide," he explained. "The doctors don't understand nerve pain. There are still moments like that where I think, 'Why was I brought to this earth if nobody can provide me with the kind of help that I need?'" 

In 2012, Igor made headlines when Rebook designed him a pair of custom tennis shoes, which were said to be worth $25,000, to help treat his pain. 

"It's an enormous opportunity now to start doing things I haven't been able to," he said at the time. 

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