Standing just 1 foot 9.5 inches tall and weighing 31 pounds, Chandra Bahadur Dangi was the shortest documented full-grown person on Earth. The native of Nepal died Thursday at age 75 in an American Samoa hospital.
Dangi was suffering from pneumonia and was admitted to the Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center in Pago Pago late last week, according to the Kathmandu Post. He had been treated in Nepal, the Daily Mirror reported, but traveled to American Samoa for an appearance. He was rushed to the hospital there after his symptoms worsened.
Dangi will continue to hold the Guinness World Record for shortest man ever, having replaced 1-foot-10.5-inch Gul Mohammed, who died at age 40 in 1997. Dangi had managed to escape international notice for most of his life before Guinness investigated his case in 2012 and confirmed that he was 2 inches shorter than Junrey Balawing of the Philippines, who was then considered the shortest living man.
Balawing, age 22, now returns to the top spot.
In a statement on Thursday, Guinness World Records said it was "deeply saddened" by the news of Dangi's death.
"GWR would like to express its sincere and heartfelt condolences to Mr. Dangi's family in this difficult time," the statement read. "He will be remembered forever as an iconic and extraordinary record holder."
Last year, Dangi traveled to London, where he met with the world's tallest living man, 8-foot-3-inch Sultan Kösen of Turkey.
"It's been a lifelong dream to travel and becoming a Guinness World Records title holder has enabled me to do that," Dangi told The Telegraph. "I'm honoured to be in London, I've always wanted to visit and the fact I get to meet Sultan is special. It makes me extremely proud to represent Nepal all around the world. I'm extremely humbled by the support I receive."
Dangi had a condition known as primordial dwarfism, which means, unlike with many other forms of dwarfism, his bones and organs were proportionally smaller than those of an average-height person. While many primordial dwarfs suffer from health issues, Dangi was described as "unusually fit."
Family friend Sujit Dilip, owner of India's well-known Rambo Circus, told the Daily Mirror, "Today, our circus is flooded with tears at the loss of the world's smallest man ... whom we lovingly called Prince Chandra."
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