|Born||Carol Ann Yager
January 26, 1960
|Died||July 18, 1994(aged 34)|
|Cause of death||Kidney failure|
|Known for||Heaviest woman ever recorded|
|Height||5' 7 (170 cm)|
|Weight||1200 lbs (544 kg)|
|Partner(s)||Larry Maxwell (?-1994; her death)|
Carol Ann Yager (January 26, 1960 – July 18, 1994) was one of the most severely obese people in history. She has the record as the heaviest woman ever.
Yager is or was perhaps more notable for having lost the most weight by natural (non-surgical) means, in the shortest documented time (521 lbs. in three months). While others have registered larger total weight loss, some were assisted by bariatric surgery and/or cosmetic procedures to remove excess tissues, and all were over longer periods of time; 19 months (with surgical assistance) in the case of Guinness's record holder, Michael Hebranko, and 16 months for Jon Brower Minnoch (said to be the heaviest man ever recorded). Guinness's female record holder, Rosalie Bradford's weight loss took over 1 year (420 lbs. in the first year), and she underwent at least five surgical sessions to remove tissue during that time.
When Yager died in 1994 at the age of 34, she weighed about 1200 lbs (544 kg), and was 5' 7" (170 cm) in height. Bizarre magazine reported that she was estimated to have been more than 5' wide (152 cm), although this measurement has not been verified by Yager's medical team or family members. Shortly before her death, however, she was able to fit through her custom-built 48" (121 cm) wide front door. Undocumented information from firefighters and rescue personnel of the Beecher Fire Department stated that they had to remove the picture window in the front room of her house to get her body out when she died. Published reports quoted her then-boyfriend as stating that he estimated her peak weight at about 1600 pounds (727 kg), but when questioned about this estimate, Yager's doctor declined comment.
Yager stated that she had developed an eating disorder as a child in response to being sexually abused by a "close family member," although in later interviews, she indicated that there were other contributing factors to her severe obesity, or "skeletons in my closet" and "monsters," as she was quoted. At the same time, however, she denied eating anything more than normal quantities of food.
She lived throughout most of her life in Beecher, Michigan, in Mount Morris Township, near Flint, Michigan, and was cared for in her final years by health care professionals, friends, her daughter Heather and son Stephen Bishop, and other family members, many of whom visited daily. Eventually, she was moved into a nursing home.
In January 1993, she was admitted to Hurley Medical Center, weighing-in at 1189 pounds (539 kg). She suffered from cellulitis (her skin was breaking down due to a bacterial infection), and immunodeficiency (weakened immune system). She stayed in the hospital for three months, where she was restricted to a 1200 calorie diet, and while there lost 521 pounds (236 kg), though most of this was believed to have been fluid. (Severely obese people often suffer from edema, and their weight can fluctuate with astonishing speed as fluid is taken up or released.) Yager suffered from many other obesity-related health problems as well, including breathing difficulty, a dangerously high blood sugar level, and stress on her heart and other organs.
As is common with many bedridden patients, Yager was not able to stand or walk, because her muscles were not strong enough to support her, due in part to muscle atrophy from disuse. Yager was frequently hospitalized, 13 times in two years, according to Beecher Fire Department chief Bennie Zappa. Each trip required as many as 15 to 20 firefighters from two stations to assist ambulance workers to convey Yager to the ambulance in relay fashion. One team inside the house would pass her through the doorway to another team on the outside, who would pass her to another team inside the ambulance, where she would ride on the floor. Each trip cost the township up to $450.00 per station.
A short time before her death, Yager's latest boyfriend, Larry Maxwell, who was characterized by her family as being "an opportunist who courted media attention for money-making possibilities," married her friend, Felicia White. Maxwell had said that the only donation in Yager's name he ever received was for $20, although numerous talk shows, newspapers, radio stations, and other national and international media are reported to have offered her cash and other gifts in exchange for interviews, pictures, etc. Diet maven Richard Simmons was quoted as saying that he was "angry that Yager's story was actively peddled to tabloid and television media by Maxwell and others."
Yager was buried privately, with about 90 friends and family members attending memorial services.
|Heaviest woman ever recorded
- The Flint Journal, Friday, June 17, 1994, page A1, "What next for 1,200-pound woman?"
- Bizarre magazine 64, p. 81
- The Flint [Michigan] Journal, Wednesday, August 18, 1993, page A1, "Weight loss brings star status" by Mike Stobbe (Journal health writer)
- The Flint Journal, Tuesday, July 19, 1994, page A1, "1,200-lb Woman dies"
- The Flint Journal, Monday, July 25, 1994, page A6, "Americans must work harder to overcome weight problems"
- The Flint Journal, Wednesday, July 20, 1994, page B1, "Richard Simmons mourns Yager"
- The Flint Journal, Sunday, July 24, 1994, page B1, "1,200-lb. woman more than curiosity" by Ken Palmer (Journal staff writer)