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Woman who couldn't stop growing dies at 34

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   Jan. 16, 2013 at 5:00 PM   |   Comments

Jan. 16 (UPI) -- People used to tell Tanya Angus she had the perfect body.

The 21-year-old Las Vegas woman was 5 feet 8 inches tall, and weighed 135 pounds.

But then, thanks to a tumor on her pituitary gland, Angus began to grow, long after she was past the age when people usually stop getting taller. Angus suffered from acromegaly--also known as gigantism--that caused her body to produce too much growth hormone.

Angus died Monday at the age of 34 due to a transient ischemic attack, also called a mini stroke, her website and the Acromegaly Community advocacy group page said.

She was 7 feet 2 inches tall and weighed more than 400 pounds when she died.

The disease that caused Angus's growth and weight gain affected her organs: her lungs, joints and heart also swelled to the point where she was being crushed by her own weight, ABC News said.

Unable to walk, Angus was confined to a wheelchair, and spent lots of time in a swimming pool, where floating helped to relieve some of her pain.

"She was a hero to people around the world, simply because of her bravery and class, as she faced so many unknowns," said Wayne Brown, the founder of the Acromegaly Community.

According to Angus's mother, Karen Strutynski, her gigantism case was the "worst in the world." The tumor that caused it was wrapped around her carotid artery and was inoperable.

Until 2010, when Angus was 31, she and her family were hopeful that doctors would be able to remove at least part of her tumor, so that medication would be able to slow her growth and allow her to live another 10 or 20 years.

As it was, she underwent three surgeries and radiation, none of which were effective, to attempt to tame the tumor.

But rather than give up hope, even knowing she was unlikely to live long, Angus turned her misfortune into a platform to raise awareness for the disorder. She appeared on television and in the news hoping to help others get diagnosed early enough to control the disease.

Follow @gabbilevy and @UPI on Twitter.
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