The World’s Tallest Man.
The title of the world’s tallest man is one that we would associate with glory and incredible accomplishment. Unfortunately, the man who bears this title did not live a life of glory, rather one of regrettable tragedy. He was a man who lived during a time that was less understanding and less medically savvy, resulting in a sad existence.
Born in the town of Alton, Illinois, Robert Wadlow was the oldest child of a family of seven. Because of a birth defect, his body produced an excess of human growth hormone which caused him to grow even taller than his own father when he was merely eight years old. Continuously growing taller and taller, Robert suffered from bullying from the other children his age.
It seemed that his pituitary gland was overactive and wouldn’t stop producing this hormone into his bloodstream. There was no known way to stop this process during these times, so Wadlow was forced to continuously live his life in a permanent growth spurt. In a sad way, salvation came when he joined the Ringling Brothers Circus as a part of their freak show. He gained notoriety here that allowed him to get a deal from the International Shoe Company to promote their shoes.
Wadlow’s health deteriorated rapidly as he reached the age of twenty. The unchecked growth took its toll on his body, putting him in an early grave at only 22 years old. To this day he is recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s tallest man, measuring 8 feet and 11.1 inches tall.