The world’s tallest man, who had grown to 2.60 meters (8.5 feet) by age 44, has died from complications associated with the condition that was the cause of his ceaseless growth.

Leonid Stadnyk had withdrawn from public attention after being briefly named by the Guinness World Records as the world’s tallest man in 2007. Stadnyk refused to be measured by the records organization, and the title was returned to Bao Xishun of China, who stood at 2.36 meters (7 ft 9 in)

Stadnyk lived at his mother’s house in a village in northern Ukraine. Stadnyk said that his height did him more harm than good.

During the latter part of his life, Stadnyk’s condition had caused him to quit his employment as a veterinarian and even made it difficult to walk.

Stadnyk occupied himself with gardening and tending livestock at home. He held onto the limbs of trees and the side of his house to walk about.

Stadnyk’s condition began after a brain surgery operation performed on him at age 14. Stadnyk developed a pituitary gland tumor, which caused the production of large amounts of growth hormone–a condition known as acromegalic gigantism. However, twenty years after the operation, the tumor was found to have mysteriously disappeared.

Stadnyk died of a cerebral hemorrhage Sunday, according to his mother.

By James Haleavy