Who is Igor Vovkovinskiy - America’s Tallest Man
|Igor Vovkovinskiy. Photo: NPR|
Vovkovinskiy was born Sept. 8, 1982, in Bar, Ukraine, to Vovkovinska and Oleksandr Ladan, according to Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home, which is holding a memorial service on Saturday. His father died earlier.
Igor Vovkovinskiy Biography
Igor Vovkovinskiy is not your typical Minnesota man, that’s for sure. Born in Ukraine, the boy moved with his parents to the US when he was seven years old. He required special medical care that simply wasn’t available in his homeland. The lad was already 5 feet and 4 inches tall at that time! His condition was caused by a tumor pressing on the pituitary gland, which, in turn, resulted in the excessive levels of growth hormone.
Today, Igor Vovkovinskiy is officially the tallest living person in the United States. He is now 7 feet and 8.33 inches (234.5 cm) tall! The downside of his condition is that Igor has already had 25 surgeries on his left leg alone. Also, the man constantly experiences horrible pain and has to take pills all the time. Unfortunately, his doctors do not allow him to try the CBD (cannabidiol) capsules to tackle the pain.
Igor Vovkovinskiy Early Life
Sultan Kösen of Turkey is the world’s tallest man, according to Guinness World Records. He was measured at more than 8ft 2inches in 2016.
According to the same source, the tallest individual ever recorded was Illinois’ Robert Pershing Wadlow, who was 8ft 11in tall. He died at the age of 22 in 1940 from a bacterial blister on his right ankle caused by an ill-fitting brace.
Vovkovinskiy launched a plea for support in 2012, asking for help to fund the projected $16,000 cost of specially constructed shoes that would not cause him terrible pain.
He claimed at the time that he hadn’t owned a pair that suited his feet, which were a size 26 10E, in years. Thousands of others contributed more than double the amount he needed. The personalized sneakers were provided by Reebok for free.
According to Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home, Vovkovinskiy was born on September 8, 1982, in Bar, Ukraine, to Vovkovinska and Oleksandr Ladan. A memorial service will be held on Saturday. His father had passed away previously.
|'Igor was born big' |
Igor Oleksandrovych Vovkovinskiy was born on September 18, 1982, in Bar, Ukraine, a city of 15,000 people with a history dating back to the 13th century.
His parents—Oleksandr Ladan and Svetlana Vovkovinska—also had a 6-year-old son, Oleh.
“Igor was born big, nearly 11 pounds,” Svetlana told “60 Minutes Australia” in 2012. “Everyone was happy. In the old countries, the bigger the baby is, the happier the parents.”
Soon, though, Svetlana realized that Igor was off the growth charts. Standard deviations did not apply.
“By the age of a 1-year-old he was the size of a 3-year old,” she said. “I was pretty concerned.”
On his first birthday, Igor weighed 50 pounds. He was 3 feet tall. Soon after, the family moved to Kiev, Ukraine’s capital and largest city (nearly 3 million people), the industrial-meets-cultural center described as “the mother of Slavic cities.”
Svetlana took Igor to doctors in Kiev, then Moscow. The doctors could diagnose the tumor pressing on his pituitary gland. They didn’t want to risk surgery. Svetlana enrolled Igor in a Russian-speaking grade school. Her son continued to grow at an alarming rate. By the age of 6, Igor was 6-feet tall. He weighed 200 pounds.
When Igor remembers his days in Kiev, he recalls the weekends spent at a beach on the Black Sea. He remembers the food, especially plates of vareniki—Ukrainian dumplings. But he also remembers realizing he was different. He recognized the stares at an early age. The stress of it all took a toll on Oleksandr and Svetlana. They divorced after 17 years of marriage.
Svetlana, a cartographer, raised her two sons. Continued to reach out for help for Igor. She wrote to the Red Cross in Switzerland. Sent letters to doctors and hospitals around the world. Then she contacted Mayo Clinic. And then she found Dr. Donald Zimmerman, a pediatric endocrinologist she would call “the miracle doctor.” Mayo Clinic agreed to absorb the costs of Igor’s care. A pharmaceutical house agreed to donate medicine.
Igor Vovkovinskiy Career
|Photo: KIRO 7|
Igor Vovkovinskiy, the world’s tallest man, passed away in Minnesota. He was 38 years old at the time.
Vovkovinskiy, who was born in Ukraine, died of heart illness on Friday at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, according to his family. Svetlana Vovkovinska, a Mayo Clinic ICU nurse, announced his death on Facebook.
Vovkovinskiy sought therapy at the Mayo Clinic as a kid in 1989. His pituitary gland secreted abnormal doses of growth hormone as a result of a tumor pressing against it. He grew to be the tallest man in the United States, standing at 7ft 8.33in (2.35m), and he settled in Rochester.
Because of his stature and the lingering cold war in the late 1980s, his older brother, Oleh Ladan of Brooklyn Park, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that Vovkovinskiy was a celebrity when he arrived from Ukraine. Vovkovinskiy, on the other hand, “would have preferred to live a normal life than be famous,” according to Ladan.
In 2009, Vovkovinskiy went on the Dr. Oz Show and was confronted by Barack Obama at a campaign rally when the president observed him near the platform wearing a T-shirt that stated “World’s Biggest Obama Supporter.”
In 2013, he brought the Ukrainian participant onto the Eurovision Song Contest stage to perform.
Vovkovinskiy flew to New York at the age of 27 and was crowned America’s tallest living person on Oz’s show by a Guinness World Records adjudicator. He beat a Virginia sheriff’s deputy by a third of an inch.
Igor Vovkovinskiy Guinness World Records
|Photo: Today Show|
Vovkovinskiy flew to New York City at the age of 27 and was crowned America’s tallest living person on Oz’s show by a Guinness World Records adjudicator. In Virginia, he beat out a sheriff’s deputy by a third of an inch.
In 2012, he launched a public request for funds to meet the anticipated $16,000 cost of custom-built shoes that would relieve his terrible discomfort. He claimed at the time that he hadn’t owned a pair that fit his size 26, 10E feet in years. Thousands of others contributed more than double the amount he needed. The personalized sneakers were provided by Reebok for free.
According to Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home, Vovkovinskiy was born Sept. 8, 1982, in Bar, Ukraine, to Vovkovinska and Oleksandr Ladan. A memorial service will be held on Saturday. His father had passed away previously.
Igor Vovkovinskiy's Death
According to KTTC, Vovkovinskiy’s height was the result of a tumor pressing against his pituitary gland. He moved to Rochester as a 7-year-old to seek out treatment at Mayo Clinic, and has lived there ever since.
On Facebook, Vovkovinskiy’s mother wrote that he died of heart disease. His family, including his brother, brother’s wife and their children, were present during his last hours, she wrote.
“His last dinner was: a piece of Kyiv cake and Fanta. A few hours before his death, he was accompanied by Oleh's wife Alla and children,” the post read.
“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 graduated from John Marshall High School and Rochester Community and Technical College.
A visitation and memorial service will be held for Vovkovinskiy on Saturday in Rochester.
'My real hero is my mom'
During that interview in his home in 2016, mom Svetlana was in the kitchen, making Igor’s favorite meal, borscht, a beet soup popular in Eastern Europe.
She was—and it felt like this was probably always the case—looking out for him. Gently steering him away from certain topics.
When I asked him about his heroes, he listed “The young and old men who are fighting against Putin’s aggression in east Ukraine.”
And “Nadiya Savchenko, a woman who fought with her words and actions against the corrupt and Putin controlled justice system.”
And “Every man, woman, and child who stood against government oppression, everyone who stood in lines interlocking arms with each other in Ukraine.”
When Svetlana was out of earshot, though, he said, “My real hero is my mom. She has done so much for me my whole life. It’s tough, sometimes, having to live with your mom when you’re my age. I’ve learned to care for people more because of what I’ve been through and because of her. She cares so much for people.”
He started talking about her work as an ICU nurse.
“She loves working with people who need help the most,” he was saying. “They love her. She always fights for them and they tell her she’s the best nurse they’ve ever had. She’ll bother the doctor as much as she has to for the patient to be comfortable, to get what they need. She never gives up caring no matter what.”
Though it still felt like he was talking about something more.
He told me about the book he was currently reading (The Favored Daughter: One Woman’s Fight to Lead Afghanistan into the Future), and how his heart will always be in Ukraine (“I don’t think it’s something that will ever go away. ... It’s a different culture. A different way that people treat each other. Something about it, we deeply miss.”).
As I was leaving he said, “You never mentioned my height.”
I didn’t realize it, either.
I said something like, “I’m sure you’ve been asked that enough.”
I told him, then, that I had always appreciated how, when I’d gotten to talk to him, it always felt like he was telling his story for some other reason. How it always felt like he was telling it with the hope it might just help someone else.
With a big picture view. With a take on the world that few people could understand.
I said goodbye, then, and walked through that 9-foot doorway.
Igor, though, followed me outside. It was painful to watch him move.
“People take everything for granted,” he said, as we stood in his driveway. “Even simple things. I can’t go anywhere with my friends in their car. I can hardly go to anyone’s house because I’m afraid I’ll break their furniture. Their ceilings are low. Their doorways are low. The pain I have is pretty much 24 hours a day.”
He shifted his weight from one foot to another.
“Sometimes the pain is so bad I can’t do anything useful. I try to think about something else. Read a book. Skype with my friends from Ukraine.”
You could tell it was a message he wanted people to hear. For their sake.
“So, I think that even for the simple things in life, people should be more grateful. Especially because you live in America. Really count your blessings. Really appreciate all of the little things you have.”
And with that he slowly made his way back into the house. Back to his mom and his favorite meal.
Igor Vovkovinskiy Net worth
Igor Vovkovinskiy’s estimated net worth is in the millions of dollars.
Though the specific figures for his net worth are never released to the public.
He possesses over $5 million, according to some publications, and over $3 million, according to others.
As a result, his net worth is estimated to be in the millions of dollars, but exact figures are unavailable at this time.
Igor Vovkovinskiy Family
Igor Vovkovinskiy never had a wife because he was never married to anyone.
He has never married for unclear reasons, and many people have speculated that he may have difficulty finding a bride.
As a result, Igor was left with only his mother as a relative. Igor, on the other hand, was never alone because he was always busy with people from all over the world and in Rochester.
He was dubbed Rochester’s adopted son.
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