Ho Van Lang being accompanied back to his home village in Tay Tra district, Quang Ngai, Vietnam. AFP
Gulf Today Report
A man who has been dubbed the real-life Tarzan has died of liver cancer in a Vietnamese village on Monday.
Ho Van Lang, who was 52, was living in the jungle for 41 years.
In 1972, he fled to the jungle after some members of his family were killed by an American bomb during the war. He has been relying on his surroundings and animals for food.
He died of cancer eight years after returning to civilization, his friend told media.
The two were in rags made of tree bark and had lived off jungle plants, corn, and some animals.
His friend and observers said that Lang’s death was hastened due to the poor diet and stresses of the modern world.
According to local media reports, Lang, his brother Tre and his father settled deep in the forest in Quang Ngai Province during the bombings.
The trio lived entirely in the wilderness, eating honey, fruits, and animals, and building shelters for themselves.
Lang's father suffered all his life from a great fear of returning to his village, because he did not believe that the Vietnam War was over.
Media reported that the man lived "completely isolated" in the jungles of Vietnam with his father for 41 years, and had no idea that women existed.
He would often hide if he encountered villagers while staying in the woods.
Throughout his life, Lang ate snakes, monkeys, lizards, and other animals, but his favourite meal was "mouse head.”
“They always ran away when they saw people from a distance,” said Alvaro Cerezo, a photographer who tracked down the family in 2015.
In 2015, when Lang was asked if he knew what a female was, he said, “My father never explained it to me but I saw people in the woods recently.”
"Most surprisingly, today, he still does not know the basic difference between men and women," Cerezo said.
"Lang is the most amazing person I've ever met," he said.
"He doesn't know what's good or bad.”
His brother, who left the woods long ago, described him, “Lang is a child in the body of a man. Doesn't understand many social concepts. The brother continued, “He does not know the difference between good and evil. He's just a kid, he knows nothing.”
“Most people know the good and the bad in life, but my brother does not,” he said.
The village where Lang has been living after returning from the jungle were mourning his death.
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"We are all shocked by this terrible news," LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault said in a statement.