‘Real life Tarzan’ dies of cancer at age 52 in Vietnam

Vietnamese Ho Van Lang, known as the “Tarzan of real life,” died at age 52 of liver cancer, according to the Daily Mail. Lang lived in the Vietnam jungle for 41 years with his father, who fled after a bombing raid during the Vietnam War killed half his family. He had returned from the wild just eight years ago and died last Monday (6). The news, however, was only released this week in the international press.

According to the publication, contact with Vietnamese society took place in 2013 and both father and son believed that the Vietnam War was still going on. Álvaro Cerezo, a friend of Lang’s, said living a “modern” life likely had fatal consequences after he began consuming processed foods and sometimes drinking alcohol.

‘I am very sad to see him go, but for me his death is also a release because I know he has suffered in the last few months. He was a beautiful human being, forgetting him will be impossible, I will miss him every day,” he said. “But I didn’t like to see him living in civilization. I always worried that he and his body wouldn’t be able to handle such a drastic change.”

tarzan - Efe/ Baoquangngai.Vn - Efe/ Baoquangngai.Vn

Aug.7.2013 – Ho Van Lang (right), after being found in a forest in Quang Ngai province, Vietnam

Image: Efe/ Baoquangngai.Vn

Also, according to the publication, local authorities said it was Lang’s older brother, Ho Van Tri, who encouraged the two to return when his father’s health began to deteriorate in 2013. The elder died in 2017, for unknown cause. Before the Vietnam War, he lived with his family in a village in the country.

The two survived in the wild harvesting food and planting corn. They wore loincloths made from bark and lived in a sort of tree house. They weren’t found until August 2013, when officials assembled a team to track them in a five-hour search.

At the time, Lang underwent medical examinations with his father and did not return home until July 2016.