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‘Hambone’ Smith, Who Weighed 1,000 Pounds, Dead at 54

June 16, 1995

TIFTON, Ga. (AP) _ Sylvanus ``Hambone″ Smith III, who had to be loaded into a truck with a forklift when he went to a hospital in an attempt to shed some of his 1,000 pounds, is dead at age 54.

Smith died Wednesday night at home in the bed where he’d spent most of the last four years.

He lost about 300 pounds during a six-month hospital stay last year, but regained it after returning home, his father said Thursday.

``He was just about as large as he ever was,″ Sylvanus Smith Jr. said.

Smith’s fiancee, Tammy Humphrey, said he had been ready to try again, planning to leave June 24 for a hospital in Florida.

They’d planned to marry there.

Smith’s health problems _ including obesity, hypertension and diabetes _ all contributed to his death, Tift County Coroner Joseph Beaumont said.

Smith appeared on Geraldo Rivera’s nationally syndicated TV show to discuss chronic obesity several times, and Rivera had arranged for his hospital stay.

He said his goal was to lose 700 pounds so he could walk down the aisle to marry Ms. Humphrey. He lost 300 pounds before leaving the hospital.

``I feel as great as I ever felt in my life,″ he said at the time. ``I’m able to sit now, stand and move around in the bed. ... I can see my toes when I sit up. I hadn’t seen my toes in five years.″

Smith said that he weighed 15 pounds at birth and was raised in a family that ordered kids to clean their plates and fed them candy to stop their crying. He weighed 275 pounds by age 11.

By 1991, he was confined to his bed because he couldn’t walk or stand.

Survivors include his parents.

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