Papa Smurf
Paul Karason known popularly as "Papa Smurf"dies.Dan Taylor/Flickr

The "Blue man" is now a part of history. 

Paul Karason, who gained wide popularity across the globe for his blue coloured skin, died after battling various health complications, at a Washington Hospital, on Monday.

Karason was admitted to the hospital last week after he suffered a heart attack. His condition worsened after he contracted pneumonia and suffered a stroke during his hospital stay.

Karason's skin colour was normal until the mid 1990s. It all began when he developed eczema or dermatitis (a chronic disorder that involves scaly and itchy rashes) 20 years ago, and tried to self-treat it by consuming the colloidal silver he had prepared at home. Colloidal silver is a suspension that contains tiny silver particles. He soon realized that his skin was turning blue due to a medical condition known as argyria. Exposure to the chemical compounds in silver had changed the original colour of his skin.

"The change was so gradual that I didn't perceive it and other people around me likewise," Karason told Fox News in 2007. "It wasn't until a friend I hadn't seen in several months came by my parent's place to see me and he asked me 'what did you do?.'"

Embarrassed by his unusual skin colour, the man started avoiding public appearances and lived a secluded life until 2008, when he appeared on the Today show, to spread awareness about his condition.

He shot to fame with that appearance and received another nickname - "Papa Smurf," which he dissaproved. "That was a nickname he didn't appreciate, depending on who said it," his wife s Jo Anna Karason told Today. "If it was a kid who ran up to him saying 'Papa Smurf,' it would put a smile on his face. But if it was an adult, well ...."

Media reported the rare medical condition was not responsible for Karason's death.  

Colloidal silver is available in the market for various health purposes, including preventing disease, boosting immunity, fighting HIV/AIDS or cancer. However, according to the health experts, there is no scientific evidence to prove these claims. According to Mayo Clinic in the US, it can get accumulated in the tissues of the body for many years or months and can lead to kidney damage, seizures and neurological problems.