The world’s shortest man, He Pingping, a native of China has died in Rome at the age of 21.

Pingping, who stood just over two feet five inches tall, died after falling ill while taking part in a television programme called ‘The Record Show’

Pingping was born in 1988 in Wulanchabu, China, with a form of primordial dwarfism, and was officially recognised as the world’s shortest man in 2008.

Pingping was admitted to a hospital two weeks ago after suffering a chest complaint and died on Saturday, according to BBC.

He became instant world celebrity as the world media splashed the pictures of his meeting with the world’s tallest man Bao Xishun, who also hails from China.

Producer of the show Europroduzione said that he had already filmed two episodes of the programme.

“He started to feel slightly ill and we decided to take him to hospital. He entered hospital two weeks ago and had all kinds of tests, being a very special person he had to go though all sorts of tests. He went into intensive care three days after he was admitted,” said Marco Fernandez de Araoz, Communications Director for Europroduzione.

“From the moment I laid on eyes on him I knew he was someone special - he had such a cheeky smile and mischievous personality, you couldn’t help but be charmed by him,” said Craig Glenday, Editor-in-Chief of Guinness World Records.