Woman Who Couldn't Stop Growing Dies: Tanya Angus, 34, Stood 7 Feet 2 Inches, 400 Pounds [VIDEO]

By Staff Reporter on January 17, 2013 10:30 AM EST

Tanya Angus
Tanya Angus was a teenage model that stood 5 foot 8 inches. a tumor against her pituitary gland caused her to ultimately grow to 7 foot 2 inches and weigh 400 pounds (Photo: YouTube)

Tanya Angus was quickly scouted as a runway model for her figure as a teenager growing up in Las Vegas. She was 5 feet 8 inches tall and was told that she had the perfect body.

However, a rare disorder known as acromegaly, caused by a noncancerous tumor on her pituitary gland, meant that Tanya's body didn't stop growing. Tanya was 7 feet 2 inches tall and weighed 400 pounds when she died on Monday at age 34.

A condition also known as gigantism, the tumor caused her pituitary gland to release excessive amounts of growth hormone. Complicating even the most basic aspects of her life, Angus could no longer wear even the largest shirts found in stores because her head could not fit through the collar. Her shoes were also custom made to fit her big feat and jewelers also extended her rings to size 20 to fit her fingers.

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"Mom, I don't know why I got it but I guess God decided that I could handle it," said Tanya's mother Karen Strutynski of her daughter's strength despite the disorder.

Many people were quick to judge Tanya when they saw her size and her wheelchair, assuming she had difficulty keeping her weight down. However, Strutynski explained that Tanya only ate one meal a day. What's more, medications used to curb her growth hormones also caused Tanya's face to swell.

"People were very cruel until she went into the media," explained Karen Strutynski.

Despite her chronic growing pains and her disfigured face, Tanya believed it was important to share her story. She appeared on television specials and in the news in order to bring awareness of her condition and to help others get diagnosed before the disease got out of control.

Angus also began to correspond with other sufferers of acromegaly from more than 60 other countries to support them through the challenges as well.

The exact cause of Tanya's death is pending as an autopsy is scheduled for later. Doctors believe Angus died from catching a cold as well as a tear in her heart.

After losing Tanya, Karen Strutynski is committed to completing Tanya Angus' mission. Tanya's website will continue to provide support to other patients of acromegaly and gigantism and provide continued medical knowledge and support.

"We can't let it end. It's just too important. We can't just let it die with Tanya," Karen Strutynski said.

To learn more, please visit Tanya's website, www.tanyaangus.com.

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