CHICAGO — The city’s famed “Walking Man” has died, officials said.
Joseph Kromelis, 75, was pronounced dead 4:08 p.m. Sunday, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. He was a local legend known for walking many miles during daylong treks around Downtown.
Kromelis’ death comes almost seven months after a man set Kromelis on fire, gravely injuring him.
Early May 25, Kromelis was sleeping at 401 N. Lower Wabash Ave. when Joseph Guardia came up to him, poured gasoline on him, ignited the blaze and ran away, prosecutors have said. The incident was recorded on security camera.
Kromelis was burned on more than 50 percent of his body, with officials saying they did not expect him to live. He received treatment for months before his death.
Guardia admitted to setting the fire, saying he thought he was just burning a pile of blankets, prosecutors have said. But officials said Guardia stood over Kromelis for 16 seconds as Kromelis slept, and Kromelis’ legs and possibly his face were exposed.
Guardia was charged with attempted murder and arson. It was not immediately clear how those charges could change after Kromelis’ death.