28-year-old Jack Chapman (also known as Tank Heathcliff Hafertepen) died on the morning of 15 October at the Swedish Medical Center hospital in Seattle, Washington.
‘Silicon Injection Syndrome’ was listed as one of four causes of death, according to the death certificate.
The other causes of death were all related to his lungs. These were diffuse alveolar haemorrhage (bleeding into the lungs), acute respiratory distress (lung failure) and pneumonitis (inflamation of the lungs).
Chapman was in a pup/master BDSM relationship with UX designer/developer Dylan Hafertepen (widely known as ‘noodlesandbeef’ on various social media platforms). BDSM relates to a variety of erotic practices and roleplaying, including bondage, dominance and submission.
Originally from Australia, Chapman lived with Hafertepen, Hafertepen’s husband, and three other men with whom Hafertepen has relationships, in Seattle, WA.
Health risks of silicone in genitals
Chapman has previously posted images of himself with enlarged genitalia. He was known for injecting large quantities of saline solution into his scrotum.
On Tumblr postings, he had also talked about injecting silicone into his scrotum and penis.
There can be ‘horrendous complications’ for silicone use in penile or genitalia enhancements, according to a 2012 study.
Silicone injections to the genitals can cause abnormal swelling, penile distortion and can elicit an ‘immunological response’.
If the silicone enters the bloodstream, it can lead to fluid accumulation and bleeding in the lungs.
Several people have died after injecting silicone into their buttocks. Silicone injected into male genitalia is less common but no less dangerous.
The 2012 study of silicone injection also stated: ‘An affordable and cheap alternative to penile enlargement lured our patients into succumbing to such practices by non-medical personnel which resulted in gross distortion and sexual dysfunction.’
Seattle Police Public Affairs said they are not treating Chapman’s death as suspicious.
A spokesperson told Gay Star News: ‘The Seattle Police Department and King County Medical Examiner’s office have reviewed the medical file related to this death, as well as concerns from the community.
‘There is no criminal investigation at this time,’ the spokesperson added.
Body modification and silicone injection use
Jack Chapman and Dylan Hafertepen were both very active on social media. People have been posting screenshots from Chapman’s now-deleted Tumblr page, where he specifically mentions his silicone use.
Among them is a post where he addresses the silicone injections to his genitals.
‘What’s my secret? Since November 2014, I’ve been having liquid silicone injected into my penis and scrotum under the supervision of a healthcare professional, who has high amount of experience performing this procedure.’
An anonymous Tumblr user asked: ‘Can I ask who and where you got your silicone done?’
Chapman replied: ‘I have a guy in Sacramento who is a champ…’
He continued: ‘The reason I shared this detail about myself was because I believe I owed it to the intelligence of my readers. I am noticeably bigger, and will continue [to] get bigger into the future – a cursory glance to my readers by misleading them or pretending that nothing has happened when it obviously had.
‘It’s a part of me. It’s a part of my story and I’m happy to talk about it,’ he said.
He then emphasized: ‘This procedure can have major health risks if done incorrectly. It is an unregulated and unapproved body modification.’
His family released a statement saying:
Tank had a persistent cough for several months. Otherwise, he seemed fine, doing the things he loved -- working out, caring for clients as part of Lifelong AIDS Alliance, and spending time with his family. Until a week ago when he had trouble breathing and was admitted to the hospital with what we figured was a routine infection. It turned out to be much more. He fought very hard, seeming to get a tiny bit better day by day, until the terrible moment that we were told nothing more could be done.
After helping people, Tank’s greatest passion was for his partner, Dylan. Together for over eight years, their love overcame challenges the size of continents, and persisted as an unbreakable bond. Tank’s devotion and love for his partner was absolute. Tank’s final words to Dylan were “Thank you for allowing me to serve you.”
His coworkers at Lifelong tell me that Tank was highly regarded by all he encountered, and that he touched many lives there. They grieve along with us.