JUAREZ, Mexico – A 990-pound, bedridden man who had appealed on Mexican television for help tackling his weight problem died Tuesday of heart failure, his family said.
Emergency officials had to knock down Jose Luis Garza's bedroom wall and load him onto the back of a friend's pickup truck as he fought for his life. The 47-year-old was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital in northern Mexico.
Garza followed in the footsteps of the world's fattest man, fellow Mexican Manuel Uribe of Monterrey, by taking his weight problem public. Garza lived about an hour away from Uribe in the town of Juarez.
Garza said he always struggled with his weight, but that he fell into a desperate cycle of depression and overeating nine months ago after his parents died of natural causes within two weeks of each other. He had been bedridden for four months.
Garza's condition deteriorated over the weekend as he struggled to breathe and eat. At his funeral, family members slammed state officials for not moving Garza to a hospital before he became critically ill.
"If he had received support at the time he asked for it, he would still be with us," said his brother Pedro Garza.
State officials argued there was little they could do.
"The attention he would have received at a hospital would have been the same he got at home," said Julio Cesar Cano, spokesman for the Nuevo Leon state health department. "Moving a patient of that magnitude is very difficult. A normal ambulance won't work."
Uribe, whose record weight of 1,230 pounds earned him a place in the 2008 Guinness Book of Records, has claimed to have lost around 550 pounds by following the Zone Diet invented by Dr. Barry Sears.
Uribe tried to help Garza by sending him kiwis, grapefruit, pears and a protein supplement. Uribe's fiancee, Claudia Solis, delivered the food on Friday evening.
Uribe was also contacting Zone Diet doctors about Garza's case and arranging to have a special bed and mattress made for him.