Humankind has constantly been fascinated through extremes: together a result, the document for the Tallest man (ever)  has been featured in nearly every version of the Guinness people Records book since its inauguration in 1955.

You are watching: How tall is the world tallest man

earlier to hall of reputation

"The just admissible evidence upon the true elevation of giants is that of recent date made under impartial medical supervision."

These were the words of Norris and also Ross McWhirter, the co-founder of Guinness human being Records, in 1955. They go on to dismiss cases for legendary giants such together the biblical Og, King of Bashan (allegedly 9 Assyrian cubits, or 494.03 cm/16 ft 2.5 in tall), citing "confusion of units".

The pair then named Robert Wadlow as the tallest man "of who there is irrefutable evidence".

When critical measured ~ above 27 June 1940, the mild-mannered American stretched a staggering 2.72 m (8 ft 11.1 in) tall.

Perhaps surprisingly, Robert gotten in the civilization no in different way to most babies. He to be born top top 22 February 1918 to 2 regular-sized parents, weighing an unremarkable 3.85 kg (8.7 lb).

But he swiftly started to shoot up, reaching an remarkable 1.63 m (5 ft 4 in) by the period of five, through which time that was already wearing clothes intended for teenagers.

Toddler in teenager's clothing

Aged eight, he overtook his 5-ft 11-in-tall (180.3-cm) tall father, Harold F Wadlow, and towered end his 4 younger siblings. When most youngsters were tho being carried by their parents, Robert had the ability to lift his father up the stairs the their family home.

Robert’s incredible height caused a variety of medical problems however, i m sorry worsened as he thrived older – and taller. Yet together a young boy, that tried his hardest come get associated in the same activities his peers to be doing. Because that example, he became a boy Scout in ~ the age of 13, and had a customised uniform, tent and also sleeping bag.

Robert pass the 2.45 m (8 ft 0.5 in) note by the period of 17, making him – unsurprisingly – the tallest teenager ever.

In 1936, the gentle huge graduated native high school and also enrolled in college with the intention of examining law.

Celebrity career

However, later on that year he would embark on a tour with the hugely popular Ringling brothers Circus, which experienced the giant earn global fame.

When request in a radio interview if he was annoyed when human being stared in ~ him, that calmly replied, "No, I simply overlook them."

The quiet, unassuming guy took his new-found celebrity condition in his stride, and also used the to earn money native public appearances.


He likewise did a promotion tour through the worldwide Show company (now INTERCO), i beg your pardon agreed to make him shoes because that free.

This to be a blessing because that Robert, who had whopping 47-cm-long (18.5-ft) feet – the identical of a US size 37AA (UK size 36, about a European size 75) – the largest feet ever. His pair of shoes could expense as much as $100, same to $1,500 (£1,026) in today's currency.

The Alton Giant also boasted the largest hand ever, measuring 32.3 centimeter (12.7 in) from the wrist to the guideline of his middle finger.

But what resulted in Robert's especially height?

Pituitary gigantism

Doctors examined Robert and realised the his superior size was resulted in by hyperplasia of his pituitary gland. This condition causes an abnormally high level of the human growth hormone and Robert was never given any type of treatment to protect against it.

Dr Donald Rau, clinical Consultant, Guinness human being Records explained: "Robert Wadlow escaped the fist of surgeons, together they were no confident sufficient to operate on him. Thus he can remain the tallest male for a really long time."

With a staggering peak everyday food usage of 8,000 calories, that actually continued to thrive taller appropriate up until his death.

Since then, medical technology and treatment has advanced significantly and also people who experience from pituitary gigantism – such as Sultan Kösen, the tallest male living as of 2017 – space able to have surgery come halt the manufacturing of the growth hormone.

Robert's problem caused him come have an obstacle getting around – he had leg braces and a walking stick, yet never provided a wheelchair.

Wadlow's death

Sadly, it to be Robert's legs that led to his premature birth death, aged simply 22 year old.

He passed away at 1:30 a.m. ~ above 15 July 1940 in a hotel in Manistee, Michigan, together a result of a septic blister on his right ankle led to by a brace, which had actually been poorly fitted just a mainly earlier.

His last words were "The doctor says i won't acquire home for the...celebrations", a referral to his head grandparents' golden wedding.

The Alton huge was then buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Alton, in an huge coffin measuring 3.28 m (10 ft 9 in) long, 81 cm (32 in) broad and 76 centimeter (30 in) deep.


In 1986, a life-size statue that Wadlow was put up on college Avenue in Alton, the opposite the Alton Museum of background and Art, in honour the the city's most renowned resident.

There are additionally a number of real-size models of the in a variety of museums across the world.

His affect has even stretched into the music world: in 2005, American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens recorded a track titled "The Tallest Man, the Broadest Shoulders", around Wadlow's life.

The tallest male has always been a favourite location of Craig Glenday, Editor-in-Chief in ~ Guinness civilization Records:

"This document resonates across the whole world since every country understands how powerful this document is."

The tallest man ever lives on in the background books and the Guinness people Records archives – one enduring record that maybe will never ever be beaten.

For our 60th anniversary, we looked ago over the years at the tallest people, from Robert Wadlow come Sultan Kösen (who right now stands 8 ft 2.8 in tall).

In the video clip below, Guinness civilization Records Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday explains how this classification is one of our most iconic, featuring archive footage and also interviews with medical experts and also celebrities.

See more: How Old Is Prince Philip Duke Of Edinburgh, Great Britain'S Prince Philip Dies At Age 99

We additionally talk to school kids who give their take on the difficulties that could arise from gift the tallest man in the world.