'Polio Paul' dead at 78 after seven decades in Iron Lung

 March 14, 2024

Paul Alexander, affectionately known as "Polio Paul," passed away at the age of 78 in Texas on Monday, as reported in an update on his GoFundMe page.

Living inside an iron lung for an astonishing 72 years following his contraction of polio at the tender age of six, Alexander's remarkable story captivated hearts worldwide.

The announcement

The news of his passing was shared by Christopher Ulmer, the organizer of Alexander's GoFundMe account, who praised him as an extraordinary role model whose influence reached far and wide.

Alexander's battle with COVID-19 came to public attention last month when it was disclosed on his TikTok account.

Rushed to the emergency room and subsequently testing positive for the virus, he faced significant challenges upon his return home, particularly with eating and drinking. The precise cause of his death remains undisclosed.

His Iron Lung record

Despite spending the majority of his life confined to the iron lung, Alexander defied the odds and achieved remarkable accomplishments.

He pursued higher education, earning a law degree, passing the bar exam, establishing his own law practice, and even penning books. His resilience and determination served as an inspiration to many.

Alexander's presence also extended to social media, where he maintained a TikTok account under the username IronLungMan.

Through his series "Conversation with Paul," he engaged with users, inviting questions and fostering interactions that further amplified his impact.

His brother speaks

Expressing profound gratitude for the support received, Phillip Alexander, Paul's brother, conveyed heartfelt appreciation on the GoFundMe page.

He highlighted the invaluable contributions made by donors to his brother's fundraiser, which not only facilitated a stress-free existence for Paul in his final years but also ensured coverage of funeral expenses during this challenging time.

Phillip Alexander's words underscored the overwhelming outpouring of support and the profound impact Paul had on countless individuals.

“I am so gratitude [sic] 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,” his brother wrote.

Paul Alexander's life and legacy serve as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of perseverance in the face of adversity. His story continues to inspire and uplift, leaving an indelible mark on all who had the privilege of encountering it.

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