Skip to main content

World's Tallest Men - Sultan Kosen, Bao Xishun, Robert Pershing Wadlow and Others

The tallest person in recorded history was Robert Pershing Wadlow (Born February 22, 1918 - July 15, 1940). He was also known as the "Alton Giant" because of his birthplace in Alton, Illinois USA. Wadlow was the oldest of five children.

Sultan Kosen (born December 10, 1982 in Mardin, Turkey) is a man who is the current record holder of the tallest living man in the world as recognised by Guinness World Records. Kosen's height was recorded at 2.465 m (8 ft 1.047 in) in his home country by Guinness World Records, at August 25, 2009, overtaking former world record holder Bao Xishun who stands 2.36 m (7 ft 8.9 in) tall. Kosen is also the current Guinness World Record holder of largest hands, and largest feet, measuring 27.5 cm and 36.5 cm respectively.

Sultan Kosen is one of only twelve individuals in medical history to be confirmed at a height of eight feet or more. Despite his height he claims to enjoy a normal lifestyle and enjoys playing computer games with his friends. He describes the advantages of being tall as seeing from great distance, being able to help his family with domestic jobs such as changing light bulbs and hanging curtains. He lists disadvantages as not being able to find clothes or shoes that fit or finding it extremely hard to fit into a regularly sized car.

How tall was the world's tallest man?

By 1937, at the age of 19, Wadlow had exceeded all recorded human height records. He grew to the height of 8 feet 11.1 inches and weighed 490 pounds 18 days before his death as recorded by his doctors C. M. Charles and Cyril MacBryde of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Up to the time of his death he was reported to be still growing.

His height and continual growth was attributed to hypertrophy of his pituitary gland, which results in a very high level of the human growth hormone.

Wadlow's shoe size was 37AA or 18.5 in. and his hands measured 12.75 inches from the wrist to the tip ofthe middle finger. His arm span was 9 ft. 5.75 in. and his peak daily food consumption was around 8,000 calories according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Wadlow's size required him to wear leg braces to walk, and he had very little feeling in his legs and feet.

On July 4, 1940, when making an appearance at the National Forest Festival, a faulty brace irritated his ankle, causing a blister and infection. Sadly, his condition worsened and on July 15, 1940, he died in his sleep at the age of 22.

A life-size bronze statue of Wadlow was erected at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Dental Medicine.

Wadlow is featured in films and has a wax replica in the Ripley's Believe It Or Not! museum in Saint Augustine, Florida, Atlantic City, New Jersey, Niagara Falls, Canada, Gold Coast, Queensland Australia and Guadalajara, Mexico.

His shoes can be seen today in the Alton Museum of History and Art.

Other Tall Men and Women

Worlds Tallest Males

Alam Channa - Considered to be the tallest living man when he died in 1998 at 7' 71/4"

Bao Xishun - Formerly considered tallest living person at 7' 9"

Gabriel Estevao Monjane - Guinness World Records listed him as tallest man from 1988 to 1990 at 8' 1"

George Bell - Tallest American at 7' 8"

Gheorghe Murepan - Tied for tallest in NBA history at 7' 7"

Kenny George - Tallest Division I basketball player at 7' 7"

Leonid Stadnyk - Tallest male living, standing 8' 6"

Manute Bol - Tied for tallest in NBA history at 7' 7"

Matthew McGrory - Tallest actor at 7' 6" when he died.

Neil Fingleton - Tallest person born in UK at 7' 71/2"

Radhouane Charbib - Listed by Guinness World Records as tallest man before Bao Xishun and Sun Ming Ming at 7' 8 3/4"

Sultan Kosen - Tallest basketball player ever in the history of basketball, standing 8' 1"

Suleiman Ali Nashnush - Libyan who is believed to have been the tallest basketball player ever at 8' 1/2"

Sun Ming-Ming - Formerly second tallest living person at 7' 9", now third tallest living person.

Yao Ming - Yao is currently the tallest player in the NBA at 7' 6"

Yasutaka Okayama - is known to be the tallest basketball player drafted in National Basketball Association history.The 7' 8"

Worlds Tallest Females

Jane Bunford - The world's tallest ever woman (until Zeng Jinlian) and possibly the world's tallest person at the time of her death in April 1922 at 7' 7"

Kimberly VanBourgondien - The 6th tallest person in the world, measured at 7' 2"

Sandy Allen - Listed as tallest living female by Guinness World Records at 7' 71/4", until her death on August 13, 2008.

Yao Defen - Claimant as tallest living female at 7' 9"

Zeng Jinlian - Tallest Woman ever at 8' 1.75".

Submit event details, disability news, and assistive technology products for publishing on Disabled World

Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.

Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.

List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.

Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be. Also see information on blood group types and compatibility.

  1. Britain's Unproductive Disabled: A Continuing Moral Panic?
  2. Social Networking Helps Keep People Healthy
  3. Majority in Favor of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Screening
  4. When the Spinal Cord Takes Charge of Information Related to Movement

Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.

Disclaimer: Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.