A 68-year-old pensioner known only as Tan had been drinking copious amounts of rice wine for more than three decades. It left him disfigured.
Tan, who lives in Xiangyang City in Central China's Hunan Province, was diagnosed with Madelung's disease, causing 'growths of fatty tumors' to form on the upper body.
As reported by The Sun, Tan started drinking at the age of 13, but alcohol only 'became part of his daily diet' 28 years ago.
His drink of choice was rice wine, a traditional Asian alcoholic beverage. Tan describes himself as "looking like the Hulk," the famous superhero from the Marvel Universe.
In 1997, he noticed swelling around his neck and shoulders, and a medical checkup confirmed that the fatty lumps were forming. The swelling increased gradually.
Since 2011 his neck has been the same save as 'an average man's waist, approximately 69 centimeters. He suffers from breathing complications due to his condition.
There is still hope, and Tan's doctor said that the lumps could be removed with surgery, but his medical team had a stern warning for the pensioner.
The lumps would return if he started drinking rice wine again. Doctor Xaio Xuping also added that there only 400 recorded cases of Madelung's disease worldwide.
Approximately 200 of those cases are recorded in China, predominately in adult men who drink heavily. In some cases, the tumors could form in non-drinkers as well.
Dr. Xuping explains that the Madelung's disease 'is a disorder of fat metabolism.' In some individuals, the tumors could form rapidly.
However in most cases, such as Tan's, the process could span over the years, even decades. Apart from the breathing difficulties, the condition isn't fatal, and the tumors aren't cancerous.
The cause is still unknown, but is linked to a body's 'inability to metabolize fat properly.' The metabolism process is hindered by excessive alcohol intake.