Real life Tarzan dies of liver cancer after living in jungle for 40 years

Ho Van Lang returned to the “civilized world” eight years ago after spending 41 years in the jungle “completely isolated” from others

Ho Van Lang and his father fled to the jungle wilderness during the Vietnam War when his mother and sister were killed by a US bomb (

Image: AFP via Getty Images)

A man named “Real Tarzan”, who was isolated from the modern world in the Vietnamese jungle for 40 years, has died of liver cancer.

Ho Van Lang returned to the “civilized world” eight years ago after surviving in the wilderness with his father for 41 years.

Lang and his father Ho Van Thanh fled into the depths of the forest when a US bomb fell on their home, killing his mother and two siblings during the Vietnam War.

The duo lived entirely on the land – they ate honey, fruit, and forest animals, built shelters, and defended themselves.

When they emerged from the jungle in 2013 to seek help for Thanh’s deteriorating health, they thought the war was still raging.

Lang died of liver cancer Monday after experiencing the “deadly consequences” of “modern life”.

His friend, photographer Alvaro Cerezo, said the cause of death was likely linked to “eating processed foods and sometimes drinking alcohol”.

Lang was found wearing a loincloth in 2013 after surviving 41 years foraging for fruit and root vegetables in the Vietnamese jungle


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Lang and his father lived in a hut built five meters above the forest floor (pictured)


AFP via Getty Images)

Cerezo said: “I am so sad to see him go, but for me his death is also a release because I know that he has suffered in the last few months.

“He was a beautiful person, it will be impossible to forget him, I will miss him every day.

“But I didn’t like to see him live in civilization. I was always worried that he and his body would not be able to cope with such a drastic change.

Lang and his father were living in their jungle home in Tra Bong District when they were encountered by a group of villagers in search of firewood.

The duo used hand-made tools and loincloths made from tree bark to live in the jungle (pictured)


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Thanh’s health began to deteriorate in 2013 and Lang and his older brother Ho Van Tri decided to bring him back to civilization.

Thanh died in 2017 from unknown causes.

The three men settled in Tay Tra District, Quang Ngai Province.

Lang and his father survived by gathering fruit, plucking starchy root vegetables from the ground, and growing corn.

When the villagers spotted the two “jungle men” wearing loincloths and living in a wooden hut, they called the local authorities.

In August 2013, officials started a search party to track down the men within five hours.

Villagers looking for firewood spotted the two “jungle men” and contacted local authorities


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Thanh was able to communicate with the locals who spoke the minority language Cor, but Lang only knew a handful of words.

After undergoing medical tests, they were reintegrated into majority society.

In July 201, Lang was brought back to his parents’ home, which had been destroyed by US bombs.

According to reports, Lang had no idea there were women after his long isolation in the jungle wilderness.

Cerezo, a photographer who tracked the family down in 2015, said, “They always fled when they saw people from afar.”

When asked if he knew what a woman was, Lang said that his father had never explained it to him, but that he had seen her in the village ever since.

Lang’s friend Alvaro Cerezo said he likely died from the shock for his body from eating the processed foods of the modern world and drinking alcohol


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“What is even more surprising is that today, although he is able to distinguish between men and women, he still does not understand the main difference between them,” added Cerezo .

“I can attest that Lang never had the slightest sexual desire and that his reproductive instinct was never shown in any of its many facets.”

His brother described him as “a baby in a man’s body… Lang does not understand many basic social concepts. Lang has lived in the jungle all his life.

Lang reportedly did not know what a woman was when he was found in the jungle


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“If I asked Lang to hit someone, he would make it hard. He doesn’t know the difference between good and bad. Lang is just a child. He does not know anything.

“Most people know what is good and bad in life, but my brother doesn’t know”.

Lang initially struggled to adapt to village culture, but Cerezo said he is now “happily adapting to his new life”.

“Lang was probably the most adorable person I’ve ever met in my life, he just doesn’t know what’s good or bad,” he said.


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