A ‘real-life Tarzan’ who lived in the Vietnamese jungle for 40 years has died of liver cancer eight years after he returned to the ‘civilized world’.
Ho Van Lang succumbed to the illness after surviving 41 years in the jungle with his father who fled into the wilderness in 1972 when the US bombing during the Vietnam War killed half his family.
The pair re-established contact with Vietnamese society in 2013 and believed the Vietnam War was still raging on when they entered a village and sought medical help for Lang’s father Ho Van Thanh.
After 2013, Lang began living a relatively modern lifestyle as he lived a remarkable life and made headlines across the globe. But some friends and observers believe the stresses and poor diet of the ‘civilized’ world had a detrimental effect on his health.
Lang’s friend, Alvaro Cerezo said that living a ‘modern’ life probably had fatal consequences for him after he started eating processed foods and sometimes drinking alcohol.
Cerezo met Lang through his work with Docastaway – an organization that helps people who want to escape from civilization and spend a few days or weeks completely alone on a desert island.
Cerezo, who returned to the jungle with Lang to live there for a week together said:
“I’m so sad to see him go, but for me, his passing is also a liberation because I know he was suffering in the last months. He was a beautiful human being, to forget him will be impossible, I will miss him every day. But I didn’t like seeing him living in civilization. I was always concerned that he and his body wouldn’t be able to handle such a drastic change”.
During their friendship, Cerezo recorded on camera some of Lang’s most vulnerable, emotional, and beautiful moments, including his time in the jungle, adapting to civilized life, and returning to the wild.
Cerezo also wrote a book about Lang’s life and has now compiled a montage of footage he took when the pair lived together deep in the jungle.
“Two years after he was brought back to civilization, I went to look for Ho Van Lang at his village to see if he would teach me some new survival techniques that I could apply on the desert islands. I always say that the best survival teachers are to be found among the tribes.
“But after spending less than a day with him I realized he was one of the most endearing people I have ever met. The connection between us was immediate because Lang never imagined someone would be interested in his survival skills, and he was so happy to show me them all. He got so excited that he decided to take me deep into the jungle and show me the place he had lived all his life.
“We spent one week living at his jungle-home in the same way he had during the past four decades. He was the most fascinating person I ever met and extremely sweet at the same time. When we were surviving together in the jungle, everything that would take me hours to achieve, he could do it in seconds. He was a little kid with the skills of a superhuman”. Tarzan, TarzanCerezo
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