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Rescue Workers To Rip Off Front of Home to Rescue Huge Man

May 17, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ No joke: The man was so fat they had to rip a hole in his house to get him out.

Construction workers removed a window and several rows of bricks today to extricate a 900- to 1,000-pound man from his Brooklyn home and take him to the hospital.

Michael Hebranko, 43, once a spokesman for diet guru Richard Simmons’ Deal-A-Meal program, lost 700 pounds at the time. But then two years ago, he started putting it all back on. He may well be the heaviest man alive.

This morning, Hebranko was loaded onto a special stretcher usually used to move small whales. He has been unable to walk for 10 weeks, and has been confined to a loveseat in his living room in Brooklyn.

Hebranko, who lives with his wife and 19-year-old son, says that obesity is a disease like alcoholism and drug addiction. He says he has gangrene and heart disease.

``It’s not just a matter of pushing ... away from the table,″ he said after his rescue. ``This is a disease. It’s not something to laugh at. It’s an addiction.″

Metropolitan Ambulance Company agreed to take Hebranko to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital and also to cover the $9,000 cost of treatment.

Hebranko’s exact weight wasn’t given. Phil Crimaldi, the ambulance service’s executive vice president, said he weighed 850 pounds about nine weeks ago and had since put on another 100 to 150 pounds.

That would put him above the man listed in the Guinness Book of Records, T.J. Albert Jackson of Canton, Miss., who the book says has weighed as much as 891 pounds.

The heaviest man ever on record was a Seattle area taxi driver named Jon Brower Minnoch. He died in 1983 weighing 798 pounds. At his heaviest Minnoch weighed more than 1,400 pounds, the Guinness book says.

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