The tallest man in the world: tallest man ever and in 2017

The tallest man in the world, ever measured and ever lived, was Robert Pershing Wadlow. He grew to be 2.72 tall. Wadlow was born on February 22, 1918 in America. At birth, Robert Wadlow weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces. Soon he started growing extremely fast and grew into a giant. At his death he weighed almost 230 kilos. He died of blood poisoning and was only 22 years old. But who is the tallest man in the world right now? In 2017, Sultan Kösen is officially the tallest (living) man in the world at 2.51 m.

Leonid Stadnik

Leonid Stadnik lived in Ukraine and grew to a height of 2.57 m. He died in August 2014 at the age of 44 from a brain hemorrhage. As the official record holder, Leonid Stadnik succeeded the Chinese Bao Xishun (2.36 m) to be included in the Guinness World Records Book as the tallest man in the world. However, Leonid Stadnik did not like to be in the spotlight and he did not want to be included in official records with his height, so the honor of the official title ‘Tallest man in the world’ went to Sultan Kösen (2.51 m), who lives in Turkey. .

Sultan Kosen in 2010 / Source: Helgi Halldórsson, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-2.0)

Sultan Kosen

Sultan Kösen becomes the record holder, he will measure more than ten centimeters less than Stadnik, namely 2.46 m. However, his official height has increased even further, to 2.51 m. It looks like he is still growing. Sultan Kösen , who has been registered as the tallest man in the world since 2014, became so tall as a result of a tumor that produces growth hormones. He married a woman of average height in 2013. It is not known in 2017 whether he is still growing rapidly in length, but it does not seem likely that he will continue to grow continuously. Nowadays, many things can be done to combat unwanted height growth with the help of medication. There is a good chance that his growth in height will also be slowed down. Robert Wadlow will therefore probably remain in the history books ‘forever’ as the tallest man in the world.

Officially the tallest man in 2017: Sultan Kösen

The officially registered ‘tallest man in 2017’ (who is still alive) in the Guinness Book of Records is therefore Sultan Kösen. Sultan lives in Turkey where he was born in 1982. He makes a living as a farmer, although he has to walk with crutches because his height bothers him a lot.

Cause of Sultan Kösen’s height

Sultan Kösen’s enormous growth in height is the result of a tumor in a part of the brain called the pituitary glands.

Robert with his father / Source:, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

Robert Wadlow was the tallest man in the world who ever lived

Robert Wadlow went down in history as the tallest man known to have ever lived. When he was six months old, Robert Wadlow already weighed 15 kilos, and when he was a year and a half old, more than 30 kilos. At the age of nine, he carried his father (who was of average height) down the stairs as a joke. His mother was also of normal height. At the age of eight, Robert was about six feet tall. At the age of thirteen he went scouting and therefore stood out far above his group members.

Physical discomfort Wadlow

Wadlow experienced a lot of hindrance from his long body. Not only did he suffer from severe pain in bones, muscles and joints, his legs also quickly weakened because they could not support his enormous weight. That’s why he started having pain, because his bones were growing too fast.

Mental discomfort

Robert Wadlow also regularly suffered from depression, although he had a naturally cheerful character. Robert was a fighter, he tried to live a normal life as much as possible, and although he did not like to be seen as an attraction, he did understand that people thought he was an attraction. That’s why he sometimes posed with people when they asked. There are several photos of Robert Wadlow with people of normal height next to him, clearly showing the difference in height between him and others.

About the life of Robert Wadlow

Despite his extreme height, Robert Wadlow was a very ordinary boy. He collected stamps and was known as quiet and friendly. He had a strong bond with his mother, Addy Wadlow. He had a cheerful character and despite his illness usually remained cheerful and had a positive attitude. He also just went to school and tried to work on his future. However, he experienced a lot of physical discomfort from his rapidly growing body, which often caused him pain and weakness. Things weren’t always easy for him mentally either, but he had learned to deal with his exceptional growth well. As a child, like other children, he went to Boy Scouts. He also attended a regular school, where they had purchased a separate table and chair for him. He could learn well and in principle he seemed to have a whole future ahead of him. But unfortunately his height would prove fatal at an early age.

Source: Doug Coldwell, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

Health and death Robert Wadlow
Despite his enormous height, Wadlow had always been quite healthy in his youth. He sometimes suffered from his large feet. His feet (and legs) continued to grow and as he grew taller he felt less and less in his feet. This had to do with the blood circulation in the feet. Robert Wadlow’s heart had to work hard to provide sufficient blood to his feet and his continued growth caused problems with blood circulation. Since Wadlow eventually had little feeling in his feet, blisters formed more quickly, which he only discovered once they became inflamed. This had to be closely monitored at all times to prevent blood poisoning. He ultimately died in his sleep on July 15, 1940 from blood poisoning, caused by an inflamed blister on his right foot. When he died he was 2.72 cm tall and only 22 years old.

The cause of Wadlow’s extreme height

Wadlow was not only extremely tall, but also very heavy due to his height. He weighed 222 kilos at the age of twenty and when he died he weighed between 200-230 kilos. He ate an average of 8,000 calories per day. His feet were 47 centimeters long and his hands were over 32 centimeters long. Robert Wadlow had two brothers and two sisters. They were of average height. The reason for his extreme growth was a problem in the pituitary gland, where growth hormones are produced and which was overactive in Wadlow. Nowadays, such abnormalities can be treated effectively with medication. Because he was so tall, Robert Wadlow was followed by the Guinness Book of records throughout his life. That is why he was weighed and measured regularly. The coffin made for his funeral was 3.28 cm long, 81 cm wide and 76 cm deep.

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