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Longest surviving iron lung patient Paul Alexander dies, leaves inspiring legacy

Paul Alexander, the world’s longest-surviving iron lung patient, passed away on Monday at the age of 78, leaving behind a legacy of determination and resilience. Alexander, who contracted polio during the 1950s epidemic, spent over seven decades inside an iron lung but had never let his condition hinder his spirit.

The announcement was made through a GoFundMe campaign initially created to support him financially during his illness.

GoFundMe Update

“It was absolutely incredible to read all the comments and know that so many people were inspired by Paul. I am just so grateful,” said Philip Alexander, Paul’s brother.

Christopher Ulmer, the organizer of the GoFundMe, called Paul Alexander an “incredible role model that will continue to be remembered.” Evident in Alexander’s global influence that was felt by many, as he had amassed over 300,000 followers on TikTok, where he shared insights into his daily life under the name “Polio Paul.”

Paul Alexander
via TikTok

Although his cause of death has not been disclosed, he was reported to have been hospitalized in late February after testing positive for COVID-19. Despite being discharged, he continued to struggle with basic functions, such as eating and drinking.

Despite facing these challenges, Alexander’s life had been marked by triumphs. He had earned a law degree, run a legal practice, and authored the book “Three Minutes for a Dog,” chronicling his unique journey.

Last year, Alexander has been honored by Guinness World Records as the longest-surviving iron lung patient.

While Alexander’s passing left a void in the hearts of those who knew him, his legacy is certain to inspire future generations to live life despite any challenges.


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