A 70-year-old man from the United States of America, known as Paul Alexander, who reportedly spent seven decades of his life inside an iron lung, died on Monday.

Alexander’s passing was announced through a GoFundMe post by his brother Philip on Tuesday after a prolonged battle with Polio, or Poliomyelitis, a childhood illness.

As per multiple reports from international news outlets, Alexander, a resident of Dallas, had been paralysed from the neck down since 1952 due to the disease, leaving him incapable of breathing independently.

His family rushed him to a hospital in Texas, where he regained consciousness inside a mechanical lung after undergoing an emergency tracheotomy. A tracheostomy involves creating an incision in the windpipe, typically to alleviate breathing difficulties.

The iron lung was believed to have aided Alexander in combatting the fatal disease, and he had relied on the neck-to-toe machine for survival until his demise on Monday.

An NBC report stated that the deceased had graduated from law school, established his own law firm, and became a published author with the book “Three Minutes for a Dog,” which recounted his life story.

Reportedly, Alexander began a TikTok account, branding himself as “Polio Paul,” where he shared his achievements and addressed questions about life in an iron lung. At the time of his death, the account had amassed over 330,000 followers.

According to a New York Post report on Wednesday, Alexander’s brother, reportedly said in a message posted on GoFundMe, “I am so grateful to everybody who donated to my brother’s fundraiser. It allowed him to live his last few years stress-free. It will also pay for his funeral during this difficult time. It is absolutely incredible to read all the comments and know that so many people were inspired by Paul. I am just so grateful.”

Also, a relative identified as Christopher Ulmer said, “After surviving polio as a child, he lived over 70 years inside of an iron lung. During this time, Paul went to college, became a lawyer, and became a published author. His story travelled wide and far, positively influencing people around the world. Paul was an incredible role model that will continue to be remembered.”

Punch / Titilayo Kupoliyi

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