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Tallest Man Ever: Robert Wadlow

A quick walk-through of the life of Robert Wadlow – the tallest man ever.

Robert Wadlow portrait

Robert Wadlow was the tallest man ever at 2.72 meters (8 feet 11.1 inches). 

In this article, I’m gonna tell you about his life being so tall.

He died at a very young age, but before that, he had an amazing life.


Robert Wadlow – The Tallest Man Ever

When we talk so much about tall people here at, we cannot miss Robert Wadlow – the tallest man who ever lived.

Tallest man ever statue

Here is short 0:49 video starring a young Rober Wadlow. In this old video, we learn how difficult it is for Robert Wadlow to find shoes – he of course has to have them tailor made for him. Then there is a little about girls, how he has to duck when he walks through doors and in the end, we meet his dad.

Robert Wadlow’s fatal operation

Robert Pershing Wadlow (wikipedia) was born around a century ago (22nd February 1918) in the small city of Alton, Illinois. He had four brothers and sisters but they all had normal weight and height.

 He was born first but nothing suggested that he will become the tallest man ever. He was 8 lb 8 oz (3,85 kg) when he was born, which is pretty normal. Even in the next 24 months nothing suggested that Robert Wadlow will become the tallest person in the world – and beat these guys by far.

Tallest men ever

He was developing normally until he reached the age of two. This is the moment when he had a serious medical intervention – double hernia operation.
Until now there is no evidence that there is a link between this operation and his abnormal growth, but the fact is that this is the moment when he started to grow very fast. 


Beginning of Robert Wadlow’s super-growth

The rate of growth he experienced was incredible. When he was 5 years old he was (5 feet 4 inches) 1.63 meters tall! At the age of 8 he was 1.82 meters (6 feet) tall.

The most interesting part is that he didn’t stop growing and it looks like he gained 2.5 inches every year until he turned 12 when he was around 2.10 meters (6 feet 10,5 inches) tall.
You think he got some tall questions – like “Do you play basketball?

Robert Wadlow basketball

In case you think that this was the moment when Robert Wadlow stopped growing that fast you are wrong. When he turned 12 he started to grow even faster.
He was 2.34 (7 feet 8 inches) tall when he turned 15 years. In the following two years his growth slowly decreased and by the time he turned 17 he was 2,45 meters (8 feet) but this didn’t mean that his growth stopped.

Tallest Man Ever grows up – way up!

When he was 19 his height was around 2,60 meters (8 feet 5.5 inches). Although his growth rate was not that fast he was still growing and he was already considered to be the tallest man ever.

When he finished his teenage years he was 2,61 (8 feet 6.75 inches). Right before he died he was 2.72 meters (8 feet 11.1 inches). He was 22 years and 5 months old then.

Tallest man ever and girls

Robert Wadlow became very famous in his place and soon after that his popularity became global. However, he couldn’t walk around without people staring at him.

Also read: Feel Worthy of Being Tall

People were not used to see things that are out of the ordinary especially not in a small place like Alton. There were reports that people often tried to push him or check his legs to see if he was some kind of imposter.

Tall Peoples’ Problems 2.0

Robert Wadlow had a really difficult life because he couldn’t use most of the things people with regular height – furniture, cars, apartments etc. On top of that he had the largest feet and hands ever.

There is no need to mention that his clothes and footwear were specially designed for him.

Robert Wadlow playing bass

The reason behind his super growth was located in the human growth hormone. It appears that Robert Wadlow’s gland responsible for production of human growth hormone created this hormone in abnormal amount.
The doctors advised surgery (without guarantee for success) but his parents refused.

Robert Wadlow and family

Robert Wadlow died in his sleep in 1940 and more than 40.000 people attended his funeral.
The tallest man ever had a difficult life but people gave him a proper farewell.

Robert Wadlow and girls

I hope you liked this brief introduction to Robert Wadlow – the tallest man ever.

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2 Responses
  • Joana
    December 14, 2015

    Thanks for another great post!
    Wow, I did here about this guy but I didn’t know he died at such a young age! I feel so sorry for him, that’s must have been pretty darn hard living like that! People who are gigantic like him are in a greater danger of developing all sorts of bone-related diseases and walking difficulties. And I thought I was the unlucky one!
    This got me thinking; I recently read that that tall people are less likely to develop heart diseases but are more likely to develop cancer ( I’m not sure whether this is true or not, but some studies have shown that this is the case. But then again, I think that other genetic factors, as well as lifestyle, play a much greater role here than being tall or short.

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