The world’s longest-surviving conjoined twins – who once performed at carnivals across the US to earn money for their family – have died at the age of 68.
In 2014, the brothers were declared the oldest conjoined twins just before their 63rd birthday, surpassing Chang and Eng Bunker, the world’s first known conjoined twins.
Their brother, Jim Galyon, told WHIO-TV the two were excited about becoming the oldest pair of conjoined twins.
Jim explained they would talk about it often and marked days on their calendars.
The year they set the record, Ronnie said: “It’s what me and Donnie’s always dreamed about, and we hope to get the ring, because we’ve dreamed about getting this since we were kids.”
The men were joined at the waist and shared a lower digestive tract, rectum and penis, while each of them had their own heart, stomach, and a pair of arms and legs.
The two lived with Jim and his wife and on Wednesday of last week, they went into hospice care.
Jim explained to MLive.com in 2014 that Ronnie and Donnie appeared in carnival sideshows as kids and used their earnings to help support their nine siblings.
“That was the only income. They were the breadwinners,” he said.
Starting at the age of three, the boys’ father decided to take the kids into carnivals as a way to provide for the family and to pay off their huge medical bills.
They traveled North America alongside Ward Hall, a circus impresario, under the show marquis: “Alive in person, Galyon Siamese twins!”
According to their brother, Ronnie and Donnie “were treated totally different” in South and Central America.
They were treated like rock stars,” Jim said of the pair.
For most of their circus careers, the brothers hung out and watched TV while carnival-goers paid to watch them through a window in their trailer.