The world's shortest man has died at the age of 21 from apparent heart complications.

China's He Pingping, who was just over 74cm tall, died on Saturday in Rome, where he was taking part in a TV show.

He was admitted to hospital two weeks ago after suffering a chest complaint. He was a chain smoker.

Mr He had a form of primordial dwarfism and was recognised as a world-record holder in 2008.

He Pingping meets Svetlana Pankratova, who has the longest legs in the world, to launch the Guinness world records 2009 edition

'For such a small man, he made a huge impact around the world,' said Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief of the Guinness World Records.

Mr He was born in China's northern region of Inner Mongolia in 1988.

His family said he stopped growing after he turned 18.