Sun.Star Pampanga

Robert Wad­low, World's Tallest Man


ROBERT WAD­LOW (Born Robert Per­sh­ing Wad­low on 22 Fe­bru­ary 1918 – died 15 July 1940) is the tallest per­son in med­i­cal his­tory for whom there is ir­refutable ev­i­dence. He is of­ten known as the " Al­ton Gi­ant" be­cause of his Al­ton, Illi­nois home­town.

Robert Wad­low reached 8 feet 11.1 inches ( 272 cm) in height and weighed 490 pounds ( 220 kg) at his death. His great size and his con­tin­ued growth in adult­hood was due to hy­per­tro­phy of his pi­tu­itary gland which re­sults in an ab­nor­mally high level of hu­man growth hor­mone. He showed no in­di­ca­tion of an end to his growth even at the time of his death.

The later years Robert Wad­low's size be­gan to take its toll: he re­quired leg braces to walk, and had lit­tle feel­ing in his legs and feet. De­spite th­ese en­coun­ters, Robert Wad­low was never con­fined to a wheel­chair. On June 27, 1940 ( eigh­teen days be­fore his death), he was mea­sured at 8 feet 11.1 inches (272 cm) by doc­tors C. M. Charles and Cyril MacBryde of Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity School of Medicine in St. Louis.

In his time, Robert Wad­low was among the most pop­u­lar of Amer­i­can celebri­ties; he ob­vi­ously was well­known due to his 1936 U. S. tour with the Rin­gling Brothers Cir­cus. He con­tin­ued par­tic­i­pat­ing in var­i­ous tours and pub­lic ap­pear­ances.

His death On July 4, 1940, while mak­ing a pro­fes­sional ap­pear­ance at the Na­tional For­est Fes­ti­val, a faulty brace ir­ri­tated his an­kle, caus­ing a blis­ter and sub­se­quent in­fec­tion. Doc­tors treated him with a blood trans­fu­sion and emer­gency surgery, but his con­di­tion wors­ened and on July 15, 1940, he died in his sleep. He was 22.

An es­ti­mated 40,000 peo­ple at­tended Robert Wad­low's fu­neral on July 19. He was buried in a half- ton cof­fin that re­quired 12 pall­bear­ers to carry, which was in­terred within a vault of solid con­crete. It was be­lieved that Robert Wad­low's fam­ily were con­cerned for the sanc­tity of his body af­ter his death, and went to th­ese lengths of se­cu­rity to en­sure it would never be dis­turbed or stolen. To­day In 1985, a life-size bronze statue of Robert Wad­low by Ned Giber­son was erected at the South­ern Illi­nois Univer­sity Ed­wardsville School of Den­tal Medicine. He is also fea­tured in film and with a wax replica in the Ri­p­ley's Be­lieve It Or Not! mu­seum in Saint Au­gus­tine, Florida, At­lantic City, New Jersey, Ni­a­gara Falls, On­tario, Gold Coast, Queens­land and Guadala­jara, Mex­ico. A life- sized statue was part of the ex­hibits at the Guin­ness Hall of World Records in the Em­pire State Build­ing in New York City.

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