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The world's shortest man, who lived a pauper's life despite that distinction, has died at age 40, his doctor said Thursday.

Gul Mohammed, who stood 22 inches tall, was hospitalized five months ago with breathing problems. He died Wednesday after a heart attack, said Dr. H.S. Heera, who treated him for 12 years.

Mohammed entered the Guinness Book of Records in 1992 as the shortest man in the world.

Heera said Mohammed suffered from chronic obstructive airway disease, which was worsened by heavy smoking. He had been hospitalized several times before.

In recent months, Mohammed had required an oxygen mask to keep his blood oxygen normal.

"We had developed a great relationship over the 12 years that I treated him. When he died, I told the staff we had lost our most cheerful patient," Heera told the Associated Press.

Before his illness, Mohammed had tried to run a roadside candy and biscuit stall, but he was often robbed because of his size. He survived on financial help from friends and voluntary organizations.

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