Robert Pershing Wadlow, widely known as the tallest man in history, is captured in this photograph. He was born on February 22, 1918, in Alton, Illinois. Initially, he appeared to be of average size as a newborn. However, when Robert reached around six months old and weighed 30 pounds, twice the average weight for a baby his age, his parents began to realize something was different. As he entered Kindergarten, Robert stood at 5’7″ and wore clothing suited for a 17-year-old boy.
By the age of eight, Robert had surpassed his own father’s height, reaching six feet and weighing 169 pounds. His continuous growth was attributed to a pituitary tumor. Although an operation was suggested to address his excessive growth, it carried the risk of permanent injury or even death. Due to their religious beliefs, Robert’s parents chose to let nature take its course. Robert had a passion for stamp collecting and photography.
Upon entering high school, Robert stood at an astonishing 7’5″. When he graduated, he had reached a height of 8’4″. Despite his immense stature, he actively participated in sports such as football, baseball, and basketball. In basketball, his teammates would pass him the ball, and he would effortlessly dunk it into the net. After completing one semester of college, where he studied law, Robert had to discontinue his studies due to the challenges posed by icy walkways and his difficulties in walking.
To accommodate his size, Robert required custom-made shoes. Eventually, he began working for the company that manufactured his footwear, allowing him to travel across the country and meet celebrities and sports figures. During a parade in Manistee, Michigan, Robert started feeling unwell. Upon returning to the hotel, it was discovered that he had developed an infection from a poorly fitted ankle brace, which was used to assist him in walking. After experiencing a temperature of 106°F and undergoing minor surgery, Robert passed away at the age of 22 on the 15th of July 1940 at 1:30 A.M. He stood at a remarkable height of 8’11.1″ and weighed 491 pounds.
At his funeral in Alton, it took 18 men to carry his specially made 1,000-pound casket. Today, Robert rests in peace in his hometown. His legacy as the world’s tallest man has remained unchallenged for the past 80 years.