Las Vegas resident Tanya Angus, who was said to have the worst case of gigantism in the world, died yesterday. She was 34 years old.
Angus suffered from acromegaly, a rare condition caused by excess growth hormone after puberty. Her website reports that she passed away "due to her heart and TIA [transient ischemic attack, or a small stroke]".
The condition can cause a great deal of pain and other health problems. In Ms. Angus's case, at 34 years old, she was being crushed by her own weight. At the time of her death, she was 7 feet tall and 400 pounds.
Acromegaly is typically caused by a benign tumor on the pituitary gland. Such was the case in Ms. Angus's life as well, but her tumor was wrapped around the carotid artery, rendering it inoperable.
Other treatment attempts did more harm than good. Over the years, she had radiation and surgery to combat the condition. According to ABC News, one 13-hour surgery nearly killed her and another caused a stroke that left her nearly deaf.
When Medical Daily reported on Angus last year, she had stopped growing, thanks to a drug that she had been taking over the course of a year. However, her website reports that treatment was also short-lived, saying that her recent blood work found her IGF-1 levels to be in the 500s. In fact, her website notes that she "[was] the only known case in the World where surgery, medication and other treatments have not been successful in stopping her growth."
Angus' battle against acromegaly started at the age of 21. Thirteen years ago, Angus was a tall, trim woman, measuring 5 feet 8 inches and weighing 135 pounds. She lived in Michigan with her boyfriend and enjoyed riding horses. One day, though, she noticed that her clothes did not fit the same and her hands were larger. By the age of 22, she had grown three inches. Her boyfriend broke up with her because of his parents' suspicion that she was a man. Angus subsequently returned to Las Vegas, where her condition progressed. The condition caused her to be in such severe pain that being in the pool was her only relief.
She was also an inspiration to the acromegaly community. "No matter how tired or sick she was, you could always count on Tanya for a smile and a hug that was guaranteed to raise your spirits," Wayne Brown, the founder of the Acromegaly Community, said.
The community has a tribute to Angus on their website, reading, "Rest in peace, princess."