Ukraine's tallest man - who was also briefly the world's tallest - dies aged 44

Olena Stadnyk (right) looking up at her son Leonid, who died on Sunday of a cerebral haemorrhage. Stadnyk, 44, reached almost 2.6m due to a tumorous gland that continued to secrete growth hormones throughout his life and died due to complication
Olena Stadnyk (right) looking up at her son Leonid, who died on Sunday of a cerebral haemorrhage. Stadnyk, 44, reached almost 2.6m due to a tumorous gland that continued to secrete growth hormones throughout his life and died due to complications arising from his condition. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KIEV (AFP) - Ukraine's tallest man, who briefly held the world record but gave it up to live as a recluse, has died due to complications from the condition that saw him never stop growing, local media reported Monday.

Leonid Stadnyk, 44, reached almost 2.6m due to a tumorous gland that continued to secrete growth hormones throughout his life.

Stadnyk died on Sunday of a cerebral haemorrhage, Ukraine media said.

He was briefly named by the Guinness World Records as the planet's tallest man in 2007, but refused to be measured by the organisation and the title was handed back to China's Bao Xishun, who stood 2.36m tall.

Stadnyk lived a quiet life in his mother's house in Podolyantsi, a village in the northern Zhytomyr region and shunned his stature, saying it caused him more harm than good.

The reclusive giant said he made a conscious decision not to be measured officially because he wanted to be left in peace.

His health deteriorated as he found it increasingly difficult to walk and was forced to quit his job as a veterinarian, turning instead to gardening and tending after his mother's livestock.

Benefactors occasionally stepped in to help Stadnyk cope with his height.

He was given a computer with a specially designed mouse and keyboard and in 2008 former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko presented him with an adapted car.

However he continued to live in his one-storey house that forced him to bend considerably when going through doorways.