'Man in the Iron Lung' dies after 70 years living in a tank

Paul Alexander - who was left paralysed from the neck down after contracting polio at the age of six and spent 70 years inside an iron lung - has died aged 78.

Paul Alexander – a polio survivor who spent 70 years inside an iron lung – has died at the age of 78.

In 1952, Mr Alexander contracted the viral disease at just six years old and was left paralysed from the neck down.

He was taken to a hospital in Texas, where he woke up inside a metal tube, known as an iron lung.

Mr Alexander spent the majority of his life inside the cylinder – which stimulates breathing – and was the last of two patients using the technology.

Not limited by his physical binds, Mr Alexander went on to study law at the University of Texas at Austin.

For years after he worked as a lawyer in Dallas, representing his clients in court in a modified wheelchair that held him upright.

Mr Alexander also become a published author, sharing his life story in a memoir ‘Three Minutes for a Dog: My Life in an Iron Lung’.

His death was announced in a statement on his GoFundMe page by its organiser Christopher Ulmer.

“His story travelled wide and far, positively influencing people around the world,” Mr Ulmer said.

“Paul was an incredible role model that will continue to be remembered.”

Mr Ulmer also posted an updated from Mr Alexander’s brother, Philip, who said: “I am so grateful to everybody who donated to my brother’s fundraiser.

“It allowed him to live his last few years stress-free. It will also pay for his funeral during this difficult time.

“It is absolutely incredible to read all the comments and know that so many people were inspired by Paul. I am just so grateful.”

Mr Ulmer added: “Paul, you will be missed but always remembered. Thanks for sharing your story with us.”

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