Rochester – Igor Vovkovinsky, a longtime resident of Rochester, known for his status as the tallest man in America, has died at the age of 38.
According to a Facebook post by his mother Svetlana Vovkovinska, Igor died of heart disease on Friday, August 20 at 10:17 p.m. in a hospital in Rochester.
A native of Ukraine, Vovkovinsky came to Rochester for medical treatment as a 7-year-old child. Ultimately known as the tallest man in America, Vovkovinsky stood an excellent 7 feet, 8 inches.
In 2018, he was featured in the TV show “60 Minutes Australia” in a segment titled “Meet the Tallest Man in the World”. According to the program, Vovkovinsky’s size was caused by a tumor pressing against his pituitary gland, causing it to continuously release excess growth hormone.
His physician, Dr. Gregory Garrison of the Mayo Clinic, described the extent of Vovkovinsky’s condition for “60 minutes.”
“Unfortunately, it is in a location that makes it impossible to eliminate the tumor completely,” Garrison said. “It’s unlikely he’ll ever stop growing. We’re using drugs to try to slow down the effects of that growth hormone.”
Throughout his life, Vovkovinsky had some unique opportunities. According to IMDb, he was featured in the film “Hall Passes” in 2011, “The Dr. Oz Show” in 2009, and the documentary “Inside Extraordinary Humans: The Science of Gigantism” in 2007.
In 2013, Vovkovinsky made a brief appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest. She dramatically took the Ukrainian contestant, Zlata Oganevich, on the stage while dressed in a lavish outfit. During an interview for Eurovision, Vovkovinsky stated that his goal was to live in Los Angeles as an actor.
During the same interview, he briefly described his relationship with his mother.
“The person with the biggest influence on me is definitely my mother,” Vovkovinsky said. “Along the road, she has been my inspiration to do well in college and to try new and exciting things in life.”
For all the exposure she got, she also had unique challenges because of her size, such as finding shoes that fit.
In 2012, Vovkovinsky received a pair of custom-made shoes from Reebok. At the time, his shoe size was 24, 10E, which meant his options were incredibly limited. He said that it was the first time in his life that he had more than one pair of shoes.
Rochester Magazine featured Vovkovinsky in 2016. The interviews covered many aspects of his life, such as his appearance in a movie, his love for his country and his guilty-pleasure song.
Finally, he answered the simple question “What have you learned?”
“People take everything for granted,” Vovkovinsky said. “Even simple things. I can’t go anywhere with my friends in their car. I can hardly go to someone’s house because I’m afraid I might break their furniture. They have a low ceiling. Their The doors are low. The pain I have is too much 24 hours a day. Sometimes it’s so bad that I can’t do anything useful. I try to think of something else. Read a book. From Ukraine Skype with my friends. … So, I think even the simple things in life should make people more grateful. Especially, you live in the US. Really count your blessings. Really appreciate all the little things you have Appreciate.”