A SUMO wrestler dubbed the “world’s strongest kid” as a child has died at the age of 21.
Dzhambulat Khatokhov became a fighter in his native Russia after first coming to fame at the age of three when he was hailed as the strongest and heaviest child on the planet, weighing 7st 8lbs.
At the age of six, he weighed 15 stone and wore size ten men’s shoes.
By nine, the boy – known as Dzhambik or Jambik but nicknamed Gladiator by his schoolmates – weighed 23st 2lb, more than the combined total of four classmates.
While the wrestler’s cause of death has not been disclosed, reports say he suffered from acute kidney problems.
His passing was announced by Betal Gubzhev, 29, the president of Sumo and Mass Wrestling Federation of Kabardino-Balkaria, the Russian region where he lived.
“The first sumo wrestler of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic Dzhambulat Khatokhov has passed away,” he wrote on his Instagram page.
“My condolences to his relatives and friends.”
A post shared by Губжев Бетал (@gubzhev_betal)
As a boy Dzhambulat became known around the world and featured in several TV documentaries amid deep concern for his weight and health.
His mother Nelya, a nurse, hit back at the time at claims she was neglecting the health of her child.
"He is just growing — upwards and outwards. What can I do about it? This is who he is, this is how God created him,” she said.
As a baby his prams required reinforced wheels after five of them broke.
At birth he had weighed a typical 6lb 6oz but by his first birthday he was more than two stone.
Dubbed the world’s “fattest kid” in the media, he was examined by a British doctor Ian Campbell who warned in 2009: "Jambik's health is dire.
“His weight means he has a greatly increased risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
"As a result of being so heavy so young, his life expectancy is likely to be greatly reduced."
But his mum said doctors couldn't find any medical problem causing his excess weight.
“We have been through various examinations. Every doctor wanted to find something to explain why Jambik is so big,” she said at the time.
"None of them discovered anything. When he was five I took him to Moscow clinics where we did all the available tests, organ scans and tests on hormones.
“But these showed he's absolutely healthy and his heart, liver and everything else is proportional to his size. They say he is healthy so I don't worry. I believe he'll live a long and happy life.”
She angrily denied putting him on steroids, but encouraged him being called the “world’s strongest boy”.
She hit back at her critics: “Do people think I am a killer? Can they really suggest that a mother can do this to her child?
"Look at his medical record.
“Do they think I started feeding him with steroids when he was two months old? It's preposterous. I love my son and I will not do anything to harm his health.”
His first wrestling coach in Nalchik admitted it was hard to train him.
Khasan Teusvazhukov, 48, said: “He usually does running and gymnastics but I do not give him full exercises.
“He won't be able to do most of these anyway because of his size.
"We try to be cautious with him. The doctors may say he is fine, but he doesn't look like it and I do not want to cause him any damage.”
When he was young his mother said: "He likes showing people how strong he is.
“It makes him a kind of superhero, a giant who can protect and care for everyone around. He likes to lift me or his brother around the place."
At the age of six she said: "He eats normal portions, the same as his brother.
“He might ask for more if he's really hungry but I never noticed he eats abnormally much.
"Maybe he eats a bit more than other kids his age, but he is bigger than them though he never eats more than an adult man.
"I can't say how it happens. He just grew bigger and bigger – upwards and outwards. God created him that way.”
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