The death of Majid Al Dossary, a Saudi man who weighed 380kg but whose smile and resilience won the country’s hearts for months, is being mourned on Twitter and other social networks.
Messages of sympathy and compassionate expressions of condolences showed that the 26-year-old man was a hugely popular figure in the country and that people were affected by his death, particularly that he was due to be airlifted to the US for further treatment.
Reports in Saudi Arabia said that Al Dossary died at Dammam Central Hospital in the Eastern Province of the country after he developed pneumonia on Friday.
Doctors were unable to save him after he suffered acute oxygen shortage in his blood and did not respond to medication.
A large number of people showed up at the Dammam cemetery where he was buried amid scenes of sorrow and grief, witnesses said, quoted by local Arabic daily Al Eqtisadiya.
Members of the civil defence helped with the funeral procedures and 16 people were needed to carry the dead body, the daily said.
Al Dossary was buried on the same day of his death in line with the Islamic tradition of prompt burials, but also due to the fact that the body of the deceased was too big to fit in a mortuary fridge.
Bloggers and social media users for more than four hours paid tribute to Al Dossary and to his courage, but also lashed out at the health ministry for reportedly not providing the international care his case required and as ordered by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
However, the health authorities in the Eastern Province rejected the charges, saying that they had been monitoring his case closely and that they were also looking after his sister Rana, also suffering from excessive obesity with a weight of around 280 kilogrammes.
A relative said that Rana had been informed about her brother’s death five hours later. Doctors took the necessary medical precautions to ensure the sad news did not affect her heart.