Igor Vovkovinskiy — the Ukrainian-American who carried Ukraine’s Zlata Ognevich on to the stage at Eurovision 2013 — has passed away at the age of 38. He died Friday evening at a hospital in Rochester, Minnesota surrounded by family.

His mother announced the news on Facebook, writing:

“Igor died on August 20 at 22:17 pm in hospital from heart disease. He and his older brother Oleh were with him until the end. His last dinner was: a piece of Kyiv cake and Fanta. A few hours before his death, he was accompanied by Oleh’s wife Alla and children. Igor was glad to see them, and although it was difficult for him to speak, he tried to joke about his nephew Andriy, whether he had learned the Ukrainian language in a month in Ukraine.”

At Eurovision 2013, Igor helped Zlata create one of the most memorable stage shows of the year — a fairytale in which she was a princess with a magical voice. Her performance of “Gravity” placed third, behind only Denmark’s Emmelie de Forrest and Azerbaijan’s Farid Mammadov.

Igor, who stood 7 feet 8 inches tall, was known as the tallest man in the United States and one of the tallest men in the world. His height led to other high-profile appearances, including a role alongside Jason Sudeikis in the 2011 film “Hall Pass”. Many will remember him for wearing a T-shirt that read “World’s Biggest Obama Supporter.”

Paying tribute on Instagram, Zlata shared photos of their time in Malmö along with the words: “Igor, my friend. Your heart stopped beating, but in my heart you are forever”.

Igor, who was born in Ukraine, moved to the United States at the age of seven to receive treatment for a condition known as pituitary gigantism. He was already six feet tall at the time. His doctors explained that his height was the result of having a tumor pressing on his pituitary gland, prompting the release of excessive amounts of growth hormone.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

22 Comments
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Noel
Noel
1 year ago

May he rest in peace

Ern
Ern
1 year ago

Very sad! Godspeed Igor!

Gravity was a great entry. The whole thing looked and sounded beautiful.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ern
R
R
1 year ago

I feared this the moment EBU reuploaded Gravity… 🙁

Thanos
Thanos
1 year ago

This is very sad to hear. Rest in peace Igor. Condolences to his family and friends!!

Last edited 1 year ago by Thanos
Michel Sennett
Michel Sennett
1 year ago

I believe he lived in Rochester, Minnesota, not the one in New York State. Regardless, RIP my ESC friend.

Vsl
Vsl
1 year ago

RIP… Tsarstvo tobi nebesne…

esc_fl
esc_fl
1 year ago

Spochyvay z myrom/rest in peace Igor, our gravity 🙁

Last edited 1 year ago by esc_fl
btw
btw
1 year ago

Sad, rest in peace 🙁

Kirby
Kirby
1 year ago

So sad. Really. Rest in peace, Igor.

Pastora Soler
Pastora Soler
1 year ago

He is always going to be remembered because of that iconic performance. RIP.

Euro Fan
Euro Fan
1 year ago

R.I.P., 38 is a very young age 🙁

Ria van de Velde
Ria van de Velde
1 year ago

What a very sad news, my condoleances to his family

Sot
Sot
1 year ago

Igor was mainly responsible for Zlata’s 3rd place… RIP, fly high

Bird Lover
Bird Lover
1 year ago
Reply to  Sot

this is very sad news but that’s just a lie. He was what? maybe 10 seconds of the performance? Zalata’s beauty and vocal range got 3rd place

Sot
Sot
1 year ago
Reply to  Bird Lover

Ok, but he helped her reach 3rd! Besides, I loved Gravity so no hate to Zlata

ESC8
ESC8
1 year ago

OMG, so terrible news. RIP Igor, we’ ll never forget you

Alvaro
Alvaro
1 year ago

How awful! RIP and condolences to his family, wish them a lot of strength in such a hard time.

Whisker
Whisker
1 year ago

This is so tragic. RIP and condoleances to his family and friends.

sTommie
sTommie
1 year ago

R.I.P.
As for the performance, I thought it was rather problematic to use him as a prop.

There is a light guiding my way
There is a light guiding my way
1 year ago
Reply to  sTommie

Ummm how?

Bombalurina
Bombalurina
1 year ago

I’m so sorry. Rest in peace. Condolences to his family

Last edited 1 year ago by Bombalurina
Colin
Colin
1 year ago

R.I.P. Igor. It’s very sad when anyone dies, but when someone is merely 38… that’s just tragic. He was an integral part of an iconic performance. Sending my condolences to his friends and family.