A vastly overweight Mexican man was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital after emergency workers were forced to demolish his bedroom wall to take him for treatment.
Jose Luis Garza, 47, weighed 992lb (450kg) and had been bedridden for four months. His condition deteriorated at the weekend as he struggled to breathe and eat, and he lost his battle for life as he was driven to hospital on the back of a friend’s lorry
Mr Garza lived in Juarez in northern Mexico and was a friend of Manuel Uribe, the world’s fattest man and a fellow Mexican who lived about one hour away in Monterrey.
Mr Garza had said that his overeating became out of control after the deaths of both his parents within two weeks of each other at the start of this year. He was inspired by Mr Uribe — whose record weight of 1,235lb earned him a place in the 2007 Guinness World Records — to follow his lead in going on television to plead for help in tackling his weight problem.
Mr Uribe reportedly tried to help Mr Garza by sending him kiwis, grapefruit, pears and a protein supplement.
Family members blamed healthworkers for failing to take Mr Garza to hospital before he became critically ill. “if he had received support at the time he asked for it, he would still be with us,” said his brother, Pedro Garza.
Healthworkers said that there was little they could do. “The attention he would have received at a hospital would have been the same he received at home,” said Julio Cesar Cano, spokesman for the Nuevo Leon state health department. “Moving a patient of that magnitude is very difficult.”
About 150 friends and family waited for more than four hours at a cemetery in the Monterrey suburb of Guadalupe while carpenters built a special coffin for Mr Garza’s burial.
“The family wanted to cremate him but there wasn’t an adequate oven for someone his size,” Maribel Cantu, a funeral home worker, said. “He is the biggest man we have buried.”
Mr Uribe announced last week that he was to marry his long-term girlfriend Claudia Solis in a civil ceremony this month, after slimming down to around 41stone (571lb) from his peak weight in 2006, when he tipped the scales at 94 stone.
A former car spares dealer, Mr Uribe has been bedridden since 2001. He drew worldwide attention when he pleaded for help on television in January 2006. Afterwards, Italian and Spanish doctors visited and offered him gastric bypass surgery, but Mr Uribe chose instead to accept help from Mexican nutritionists working with the Zone diet. He said he would stick to that diet until he reached his goal weight of 18st.
The television programme, World’s Heaviest Man, detailed his battles to lose weight and his housebound life.
He has said that he plans to launch the Manuel Uribe Foundation to educate Mexican people about nutrition, to combat obesity problems. He has asked Guinness World Records to certify in July 2008, his second title: “The world’s greatest loser of weight.”