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Robert Pershing Wadlow
Robert Wadlow postcard.jpg
Wadlow with his father
Born (1918-02-22)February 22, 1918
Died July 15, 1940(1940-07-15) (aged 22)
Cause of death Parasitic infection
Nationality American
Education Alton High School
Alma mater Shurtleff College
Known for Tallest verified human being
Home town Alton, Illinois
Height 8 ft 11.1 in (2.72 m)
Parent(s) Harold Franklin Wadlow
Addie Johnson

Robert Pershing Wadlow (February 22, 1918 – July 22, 1940) was the tallest person who ever lived.

Early life

Robert Pershing Wadlow was born to Addie Johnson and Harold Wadlow in Alton, Illinois on February 22, 1918, and was the oldest of five children. During elementary school, they had to make a special desk for him because of his size. In 1936, after graduating from Alton High School, he enrolled in Shurtleff College with the intention of studying law.


Robert Wadlow was normal at birth but started growing abnormally when he was two, after a double hernia operation. He was six feet tall at age six. By the time he was 17, he was eight feet tall. Because he was so tall, he got lots of attention and became very famous, but his bones were very weak and he had to wear leg braces. In 1940, he was walking in a Fourth of July parade, when one of his braces made his ankle get infected; he died on the 15th of that month. When he died he was 8' 11.1". Robert was 6' 5" on his knees.


Wadlow died at the age of 22. Four days later, at his funeral, 40,000 people attended and it took 12 people to carry his coffin. People remember him as the "Gentle Giant" and there is a statue of him at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Dental Medicine. People now say Wadlow had something called gigantism, which made him so tall.

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