Almost certainly Marfan's disease, which causes deformities of the chest and abnormal growth in the arms and face - the Pharoah Akhenaten also, allegedly suffered from it. do a google, and your bound to come up with something.
It's believed that he may have had Marfan's Syndrome. A genetic condition which affects the connective tissues causing an elongated and supple limbed or lanky appearance . It can affect the heart causing death and also the eyes in particular.
Don't worry Karl, have a look at these sites and see what you think: http://www.marfan.org.uk/ http://www.ctds.info/
as long as you know you have it, and get checked regularly, Marfan's won't kill you (and you're no more or less likely to get assassinated in a theatre than any other person)
If you're in London and the home counties, there's a wonderful specialist you can see in St Thomas'. (My husband has a fibrilin deficiency similar to Marfan's but not as serious)
EDIT, yes, my husband does look a little like Lurch
The actor that played Lurch (Ted Cassidy) had acromegaly - if he also had Marfan's then he was very unfortunate but I don't think he had that as well!
Tall, deep voice, due to thickening of the vocal cords. Remember him as the Android Rock in that classic Star Trek episode "What are little girl's made of?"
Compare to Richard Kiel (jaws) also with Acromegaly. The condition can also affect the heart as the tissues thicken rather than elongate.
I also have a friend who has Marfan's. It used to cause early death in some cases if but he is in his 60s and only fairly late in life had the condition monitored. As long as you have regular checkups particularly on your heart you will be OK.
It's been speculated that the U.S. president Abraham Lincoln suffered from Marfan syndrome more than a century ago. This genetic disorder can lead to heart failure.
DB: In the 1990's, the gene responsible for Marfan was identified. Scientists proposed testing samples of Lincoln's blood to see if he had the disease. But researchers decided to hold off. Dr. Reed Pyeritz at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine explains why ...
Reed Pyeritz: It's not so much a matter of the technology. Either the DNA can be extracted or it can't ... And the ability to analyze the gene is as good today as it's likely to be in the next few years. The problem is interpreting a change that might be found in Lincoln's DNA.
JB: That's because there can bw hundreds of mutations in the Marfan gene. A person might have several and still not have Marfan. So finding a change in Lincoln's Marfan gene wouldn't tell if he had the disease. What's needed is a comparison of the genes of Marfan sufferers and non-sufferers. That's expensive -- and that's why Pyeritz is first trying to identify Marfan sufferers most at risk for a heart attack.
I'm pretty sure that Cassidy suffered from Gigantism rather than Acromegaly. His growth at a young age (6'1" at age 11) before epiphyseal closure is more in line with gigantism. Acromegaly occurs after epiphyseal closure. Both are caused by an excess of Growth Hormone, but the differential diagnosis between the two is the age of onset. Richard Kiel's bio says Acromegaly, but I'd question that. Acromegaly has the large hands and feet, facial structural enlarement changes (forehead, jaw and nose), thickening of the skin, deepening of the voice, but they don't reach excessive heights, because the epiphysis are closed. The onset is typically seen in middle age. The majority of those effected are due to a pituitary adenoma (95% of the cases), the other 5% occurs from a tumor elsewhere in the body that's producing GH. It is completely possible that Cassidy and Kiel continued to have excessive GH after they reached maturity and their height stopped, but endocrinologists would still most likely classify their condition as Gigantism or Pædiatric Gigantism with Adult onset Acromegaly. My great uncle (by marriage) suffered from Acromegaly. Pictures of him in his 20's to early 30's looked normal, but from about 38 to 56, you could see the facial changes and his hands and feet getting larger. He died of heart problems in his early 60's, when I was 12 or 13.
Additionally, Gigantism is thought to be a genetic trait, but 50% of the cases studied didn't share the same gene dupication (thefe'sseveral genes that are culprits). So there's still a lot of conjecture and research going on. Acromegaly, has no genetic component at all, that they've been able to identify. At some point in the years after puberty the adenoma starts up and the growth hormone level goes way up. Cardiac problems, Type 2 Diabetes, severe Sleep Apnia and Hypertension are complications that can occur as a result of suffering from Acromegaly (also severe joint pain, headaches and vision problems). With treatment (surgery, radiation therapy and/or medication, somastatin analogue, GH receptor antagonist), Acromegaly patients can live to a normal lifespan. Untreated, they will die prematurely by 10 or more years.