A pensioner cruelly dubbed the Elephant Man because of a bizarre leg condition has tragically died.
Michael Cull, 68, died on Thursday after his swollen leg started bleeding while on holiday last month.
The death of the retired NASA computer technician, from Rosehearty, Aberdeenshire, comes after years of pleading with doctors to amputate his leg.
Mr Cull’s leg began to swell after he was involved in a car accident 12 years ago, with it eventually weighing 3st at the time of his death.
He was diagnosed as having gross lymphedema but doctors later suspected he suffered from elephantiasis.
However, blood tests at the London Hospital of Tropical Diseases failed to find any trace of the parasite which typically causes the condition.
Mr Cull had been pleading with the NHS for several years to have an amputation but dates for appointments and potential operations were continually pushed back.
Doctors had discovered tumours in his leg not long before Mr Cull went on holiday to Newcastle last month.
He travelled to Newcastle with his close friend Christina Brooks, 65, who was at his bedside when he died.
She said: “He was very, very ill.
“They took him to hospital in Newcastle and they put him on antibiotics and drips, and he was in intensive care for about three weeks before he was transferred up to Aberdeen.
“He was my best friend – I’ve loved Michael for 13 years, but I cannot bear the way he kept having the rug pulled from under him.
“I’m not saying they weren’t treating him well, but they left it far too late.
“I went up to see him yesterday and I could hear him screaming in agony. It was like being in a torture chamber.
“He was crying, yelling and screaming any time they tried to move his leg.
“It was black and blue from the bottom right up to the top, and things didn’t need to get to that stage.
“Suddenly the noises he was making stopped and that was it.
“He was promised treatment time after time, but the plug kept being pulled.
A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said: “NHS Grampian extends condolences to the family of Mr Cull.
“Due to patient confidentiality we cannot discuss individual cases.
“However, if Mr Cull’s family or next of kin are in any way concerned about the care or treatment received, then we would urge them to contact our Feedback service and we will respond to them directly.”
Stewart Stevenson, MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, said: “I would like to extend my condolences to Mr Cull’s friends and family at what will doubtless be a very difficult time.”