The tallest man ever officially recorded by Guinness World Records was Robert Pershing Wadlow, standing at 8 feet 11.1 inches. He was still growing when he passed away prematurely at the age of 22. Join us as we explore the life of this towering figure in this article.


Robert Wadlow’s Early Years

Robert Wadlow was born on February 22, 1918, in Alton, Illinois, USA. At his birth, he measured 1 foot 8 inches and weighed 8.5 pounds. Although he was of normal size at birth, he soon began to grow at an extraordinary rate. By six months, his parents noticed his unusual growth rate; little Robert then measured 2 feet 10 inches and weighed 30 pounds. When he was 18 months old, the future giant stood 4 feet 3 inches tall and weighed 67 pounds. In kindergarten, at 5 years old, he had already reached a height of 5 feet 6 inches. By the age of 13, he was 7 feet 4 inches tall and became the world’s tallest Boy Scout. At 19, he reached 8 feet 6 inches, claiming the title of the tallest man in the world. Just before his untimely death at the age of 22, Robert Wadlow stood at 8 feet 11.1 inches.

His extraordinary growth was due to hyperplasia of his pituitary gland, which resulted in an abnormally high level of human growth hormone. Despite his height, he was known for his gentle demeanor. Robert’s life, although short, was marked by his unique stature and the challenges that came with it, from custom-made clothing and shoes to special accommodations in school and at home. His legacy continues as he remains a symbol of the extraordinary capabilities and variations of the human body.

Robert Wadlow at 6 years old

Robert Wadlow at 6 years old

The Height of Robert Wadlow Explained

Robert Wadlow, the tallest man ever certified, shared a condition similar to that of Andre the Giant, known as a pituitary gland disorder. This medical condition led his pituitary gland to produce excessive growth hormones, contributing to his extraordinary height. Such an overproduction of hormones often leads to enlarged extremities, affecting hands, feet, and facial features. This condition, known as gigantism, is now effectively managed in modern medicine. Current treatments can regulate hormone secretion to prevent such abnormal growth. However, during Robert’s time, these medical advancements were not available. His remarkable height remains a testament to the complexities and potential anomalies of human growth, and the advances in medical science since then.


tall and size robert wadlow-wetall

Robert Wadlow’s Daily Life Challenges

Living daily life as the tallest man, especially in the 1930s, presented unique challenges for Robert Wadlow, who stood over 8 feet 3 inches tall. His sleeping arrangements required three beds joined together. At home, a special table was constructed to allow him to eat comfortably without bending over excessively. Custom-made desks accommodated him at school, and he even had a specially designed chair at university.

By the age of 18, his clothing required triple the normal amount of fabric, and his shoe size was a massive 72, making footwear both difficult to find and expensive. However, he found a solution through a mutually beneficial agreement with a shoe manufacturer, who provided shoes in exchange for Robert’s participation in a promotional tour. This tour across the United States necessitated custom modifications to a car to accommodate his size.

Even in death, Robert’s extraordinary size required special considerations. His coffin measured 10 feet 9 inches and needed twenty people to carry it. His funeral was attended by 40,000 people, reflecting his status as a figure of public fascination and highlighting the unique life he led as a result of his unprecedented height.


Bon appetit !

The Tragic End of Robert Wadlow

Robert Wadlow’s extraordinary size necessitated the use of a cane for walking and a brace to correct physical impairments. Unfortunately, a poorly adjusted brace led to a grave complication in his life. It caused an injury that was initially mismanaged, leading to an infection. The infection deteriorated rapidly, proving to be incurable.

Tragically, at just 22 years old, the giant passed away in his sleep, leaving many to wonder about the potential extent of his growth had he lived longer. At the time of his death, his hands measured 12.7 inches in length, and his shoe size was a staggering 37, equivalent to 18.5 inches. Robert’s untimely death underscores the challenges he faced due to his unprecedented height and the limitations of medical care available during his era. His legacy continues as a symbol of the extraordinary and the unique in the human experience.

The funeral of Robert Wadlow

The funeral of Robert Wadlow

Remarkable Tales from Robert Wadlow’s Life

Robert Wadlow’s life was filled with extraordinary stories that highlighted both the challenges and the unique experiences of being the tallest man ever recorded. Some of the most notable anecdotes include:

  • At the young age of 9, he was already strong enough to carry his father on his back, showcasing his remarkable physical strength.
  • His dietary needs were immense, consuming three to four times more food than an average person, a necessity to support his giant frame.
  • By the age of 6, Robert had grown taller than his teacher, Miss Manley, a testament to his rapid and extraordinary growth from an early age.
  • For a period, Robert worked in a circus, specifically Bailey Circus, likely as a part of the sideshow attractions that were common in that era.
  • Due to his size, standard cars were not suitable for him. He had the front seat removed and sat in the back to fit comfortably.
  • Standing next to the giant Sequoias of California marked a rare moment for Robert, where he felt small in comparison. This experience was something he reportedly enjoyed, offering a different perspective on his extraordinary height.
  • He often faced curiosity and skepticism, with people tapping his shins to check if he was on stilts, a common reaction to his unbelievable height.
  • After his passing, his mother made the difficult decision to burn some of his belongings, aiming to prevent them from being exploited for profit.

Each of these stories contributes to the legacy of Robert Wadlow, painting a picture of a life that was as challenging as it was fascinating, marked by moments of awe, curiosity, and human resilience.


Videos of Robert Wadlow

Robert Pershing Wadlow: a giant among giants

The world’s tallest man

The story of Robert

Robert Wadlow Centennial

Tallest Man Ever: The Unbeatable Record? – Guinness World Records

Photos by Robert Wadlow


The great seducer


With his father

With his father



At the tailor’s, his future best friend


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Robert at school


the tallest ever

the tallest ever



with familly

with familly


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with brothers



In bed


His shoe in 72

His shoe in 72


Robert-Wadlow-with women-300x225

Joking with friends


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World’s largest scout



Statue of Robert

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