An influencer who took a daily dose of veterinary-grade ivermectin and promoted its use to his followers, even recommending they give the drug to children, has died of a common side effect of the medication.
As reported by VICE, hours before his death on March 3, Danny Lemoi posted an update on his hugely popular pro-ivermectin Telegram group, Dirt Road Discussions.
"HAPPY FRIDAY ALL YOU POISONOUS HORSE PASTE EATING SURVIVORS !!!" he wrote in what would be his final post. Over the last several years, Lemoi took a daily dose of veterinary ivermectin, a dewormer designed to be used on large animals like horses and cows.
In 2021, as ivermectin became a popular alternative COVID-19 treatment among anti-vaxxers, he launched what became one of the largest Telegram channels dedicated to promoting the use of it, including instructions on how to administer ivermectin to children.
Lemoi Died Due to an Enlarged Heart
Lemoi, who lived in Foster, Rhode Island, "passed away unexpectedly" on March 3, according to an online obituary post by his family last week. He was survived by his parents and brother. The obituary gave no details about the cause of his death.
In the Telegram channel, administrators broke the news of his death to his followers. "Though it was obvious that Danny had the biggest heart, it was unbeknownst to him that his heart was quite literally overworking and overgrowing beyond its capacity, nearly doubled in size from what it should have been," the admins wrote, adding: "We understand that this is going to raise questions for those who were following him."
The admins added that Lemoi had undergone testing on his heart last year, but the results had shown no cause for concern.
Lemoi began taking ivermectin designed for animals on a daily basis after he was diagnosed with Lyme disease, according to a detailed account of his medical history he gave on a podcast last November. He said then that five months after first taking the drug, he quit all other treatments and believed ivermectin had "regenerated" his heart muscle.
During the pandemic, Ivermectin became hugely popular among anti-vaxxers, many of whom were taking and recommending the veterinary formulation of the drug, rather than the one designed for human use. While ivermectin for humans is used to treat serious illnesses like river blindness, it has repeatedly been shown to be an ineffective treatment for COVID-19.
And according to the Missouri Poison Center, ingesting large doses of ivermectin formulated for animals has a long list of side effects, including seizures, coma, lung issues, and heart problems.
Lemoi's Followers Now Concerned About Their Own 'Severe' Symptoms
However, despite Lemoi's death, administrators of his channel are still pushing misinformation on the channel while his followers share their own worrying possible side effects from tacking the controversial medication and question the safety of the drug.
According to VICE, many of his followers who are taking his dosage recommendations, or "protocols," for veterinary ivermectin are experiencing numerous known side effects of taking the drug.
"I'm 4 months now and all hell's breaking loose, all pain has hit my waist down with sciatic, shin splints, restless leg syndrome, tight sore calves & it feels like some pain in the bones," a member wrote on Friday.
"My wife has been taking ivermectin for 3 months," noted another. "She is being treated for autoimmune hepatitis, thyroid, and vertebrae issues. She has had some serious HERXING. Today she has a migraine, vomiting and severe stomach pain. Does anyone have any ideas how to help?"
Despite Lemoi's death, administrators said this week the Telegram channel would live on, and the group is attracting new members who continue to take ivermectin despite suffering serious side effects.
"I am very new to this... I've been on Bimectin paste for 20 days," one new member wrote on Friday morning, explaining that he too was suffering from Lyme disease. "I have severe chest pain. Costochondritis symptoms. Air hunger, internal tremors, brain fog, headaches on the back of my head, anxiety, depression, doom and gloominess."