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1930s & Earlier / Robert Wadlow Worlds Tallest Man
The tallest man who ever lived was Robert Wadlow of Alton, Illinois. He was measured at an amazing 8 feet 11 inches just before his death in 1940. His enormous height was due to an overactive pituitary gland. Apparently surgery to correct the problem was deemed too risky. Wadlow's growth showed no signs of ever stopping. At age eight Wadlow stood 6-foot-2 and he was already taller and stronger than his father. At 13, when he was a Boy Scout, he was 7-foot-4. He attended college for one year until his size made such tasks as note-taking impossible. (His hands were too huge to manipulate a pen.) By the time he was 20, Wadlow needed special metal braces to support his legs. They inadvertently caused his death at age 21: One brace chafed Wadlow's leg causing an infection that led to a fatal case of blood poisoning. Wadlow's coffin was encased in cement to prevent grave robbers from stealing it.