HUNDREDS of people turned out to pay their last respects to the UK’s tallest man and Game of Thrones actor Neil Fingleton. 

Mourners filled the nave of Durham Cathedral to remember the “short yet remarkable life” of a man who was polite and gracious and would be a “big miss”. 

The 7ft 7ins actor died from a heart attack at his home in Gilesgate, Durham, on Saturday, February 25 - just weeks after celebrating his 36th birthday before Christmas.

Mr Fingleton was a professional basketball player before he found fame as Mag The Mighty in HBO TV series Game of Thrones and also took on roles in X-Men First Class and Jupiter Ascending.

The funeral cortege made its way from the the city’s Market Place, with his hearse carrying the floral tribute “Big Smooth”. 

Vicar of St Giles’ Church Canon Alan Bartlett paying tribute, recalled Mr Fingleton’s identity as a local lad and above all as a family man “that is most precious today”.

He is still fondly remembered by teachers of Durham Gilesgate Primary School and Durham Gilesgate Sports College. 

Canon Bartlett said: “His family reflected on Neil as a someone who would be quiet about his achievements, not wishing to draw attention to himself.

“Neil had finished filming only a few weeks before and was clearly happy with his way of life. 

“It is not as a global star that I remember him, but as a quietly spoken and gracious man who just happened to be a bit taller than most of us.

“While Neil used his height to good effect to forge two careers. His mother said it was a struggle at times.

“But through that struggle Neil retained his patience and his humanity." 

He added: “There is a some comfort in that Neil died peacefully but he has gone from us so young and will in every sense a big miss.” 

Friend Phil Giarusso, who hosted Mr Fingleton for three years when he first moved to the United States as a 16-year-old, said: “Neil brought picture of Durham Castle and put it on his wall. 

“He always bragged about how beautiful the cathedral was here and how churches in United States were so tiny. 
“This (Durham Cathedral) is absolutely magnificent and is a terrific place for a send off for Neil.”

He added: “Neil came over to the US as skinny shy kid who didnt’ really know his way around. When he left four or five years later he was strong physically and mentally and really with a purpose. 

“He took a huge leap of faith when he came over, which speaks to his character and the way he was raised by Christine and Michael. He became a celebrity there not for what he looked like but for who he was.” 

Mr Fingleton’s niece, Eve, read a touching poem she had composed: “You are a friend to us all and a true family man you height didn’t effect the sense of style you possess.

“Nobody in the world can take away your achievements , When you gave us a high-five you made us smile, so high-five Uncle Neil.”

Mr Fingleton is survived by his mother Christine, brother Michael, 38, and sister Keely, 40. His father, Michael, died six years ago.