Dzhambulat Khatokhov, the Russian sumo wrestler who was the size of an average adult when he was six and was said to have held a world record alongside his precocious feats of strength, has been announced to have died at 21.
During his extraordinary short life, Khatokhov was said to weighed 48kg before he was four years old and was known for working with weights from an early age that would have tested most adults.
After being pronounced the world’s heaviest child, the powerhouse prodigy became popular with TV programmers, including BodyShock, a series that dedicated an episode to Khatokhov, initially shown on Channel 4 in the UK.
Experts were unable to explain his remarkable growth, although he was treated each year for obesity.
“I continued to grow,” he told his thousands of followers on Instagram in 2018, describing his phenomenal formative years while keeping them up to date with his powerlifting and wrestling through occasional posts.
“At the same time, my appetite was not at all different from others – I ate like ordinary children.”
Khatokhov was nicknamed Sosruko after a giant, fierce and protective “gentle giant” warrior from local mythology in the Kabardino-Balkaria region where he was born and based.
Announcing Khatokhov’s death on the social media platform, Betal Gubzhev, the President of the Federation of Sumo and Mas-Wrestling of Kabardino-Balkaria and a junior wrestling coach, offered his condolences.
Fans spoke of their sadness, with many calling Khatokhov a “legend”. “It’s a pity,” said one, recalling how they had met the giant in the regional capital of Nalchik. “I have bright memories of him as a child. I always followed his fortunes.”
Another reminisced: “I remember all the broadcasts, from my earliest years to now. I am sincerely sorry and in disbelief. This is a real shock.”
Khatokhov enjoyed offering motivational advice to his admirers. “People are always waiting for the ideal circumstances to start doing something, whether it be study, business or training,” he wrote last year, sharing a self-portrait in a gym.
“You must finally understand: there is no ideal situation. A lot of opportunities will not fall on you out of nowhere, after which you can say ‘this is my time.’ The beginning of everything can only be your first step.”
The cause of his death has not been revealed.