Extreme Humans

Robert Wadlow – The Tallest Man Who Ever Lived

Last Updated on July 26, 2020 by Darshan Modi

Robert Wadlow
Robert Wadlow


Robert was the tallest man in the world at 8ft 11 inches tall and weighing 222 kilograms.


Robert Wadlow was born on 22 February 2918 in Alton, Illinois and was a normal healthy 3.9 kilograms at birth.

Early Life

Soon after birth, Robert started growing at an incredible rate and by 6 months he weighed 13 kilograms. By the time Robert was five and went to kindergarten, he was wearing clothes made to fit a 17 year old. When Robert celebrated his 8th birthday he was towering above his friends at an incredible 1,87m and weighing more than 90 kilograms.
By the age of nine, Robert could pick up his father and he was taller than both his parents before his eleventh birthday. He graduated from Alton High School where special desks had to be made for him to accommodate his height. He needed special leg braces as his size affected his feet and he lost feeling in them at a young age.
Robert was the eldest of five children, all of normal height. He enjoyed collecting stamps and was the tallest boy scout in history. He also learnt to play the guitar and had a keen interest in photography, both of which he had to give up when his hands got too big.

About Robert Wadlow

All of Roberts family members were of normal size and weight. His mother was as tall as Roberts hips and his farther did not even reach his armpit.When Robert was 19 he reached the height of 2,61 meters and officially claimed the title of the Tallest Man in the World. His shoe size was a 37AA, the largest ever recorded and he needed to have shoes specially made for him.
Robert was known as a gentle giant and did many radio interviews and public appearances, in 1936 he went on a tour with the Ringling Bros. Circus . He was also a travelling salesman for shoes with this father for many years, who had to have their car customised to accommodate Robert. Robert Wadlow was Freemason and in he needed a specially made ring which is reported to be the largest one ever made. On an average day he consumed more than 8000 calories to sustain his large body.
Robert died on 15 July 1940 at the young age of 22 from a parasitic foot infection as result of a blister. The lack of feeling in his feet meant he was not aware of the blister and it became infected. He was 2,7 meters tall and weighed 222 kilograms. His casket weighed 453 kilograms and needed 18 pallbearers to carry it. His funeral was attended by thousands of people.
Roberts family were so worried about him being remembered as a freak that they destroyed most his belongings after his death. A life size statue of Robert is erected in his hometown of Alton and bypasses can stand next to it and see how tall he really was.

ALSO READ ABOUT:   Mike Rutzen - The Shark Whisperer

Genetic Or Learned

Genetic – In his teens it was discovered that Robert had a hyperactive pituitary glad that was the reason for his abnormal growth.

Guinness World Records

  • 1937 – The Tallest man in the world.

Names Known By

  • The Giant of Illinois
  • The Gentle Giant
  • Alton Giant

Robert Wadlow Youtube Videos

Books Featured In

  • Robert Wadlow – the unique life of a boy who became the worlds tallest Man- Jennifer Phillips (2010)
  • Freak Show: Presenting human oddities for Amusement and profit – Robert Bogdan (2014)
  • Gateway of the Gods – An investigation of fallen Angels – Craig Hines (2007)
  • Secret St Louis: A guide to the weird wonderful and Obscure – David Laugher (2016)
  • Bringing Science to Life: A guide from the Saint Louis Science Centre – Patricia Corrigan (2007)