Top – 10 Tallest People in the 20th & 21st Centuries

1 2

Ever since we have been able to keep records and take accurate measurements we have been fascinated by the heights of the unusually tall people of this world. Here are some short snippets about 9 men and 1 woman, who can easily be categorized as being the Top-10 in height, in the 20th/21st century.

Most of them achieved this height due to some abnormality in their growth hormones, and for many of them it was a drawback rather than a boon.


1. Robert Pershing Wadlow

He has been confirmed as the tallest person in this world, ever since correct records have been maintained. He was 8.11”in height and 490m pounds in weight, when he passed away in 1940.Born a healthy 8 pound 6 ounces, in Alton Illinois, he grew at a rapid pace and at the age of eight he was a whopping 6.2’and 195 pounds. His extraordinary height was attributed to an overactive pituitary gland, which produced an excess of the growth hormone. Known as the “Gentle Giant”, he endeared himself to all those around him due to his peaceful manner and his endearing nature. He spent the few years of his youth traveling all over the country, representing the International Shoe company. When he passed away in July 1940, due to complications from a foot infection, it needed 12 pallbearers, assisted by 8 other men to carry his casket. 40,000 people from his hometown signed the visitor’s book, and in 1985 a statue was erected in his memory.


2. John Rogan

One of the dozen people in recorded history to go beyond the 8 feet mark, John Rogan was 8.9”tall, but he weighed only 175 pounds. Due to his angular structure and a bone disease, he was unable to stand and could be measured only after he passed away in 1905 at the age of 37.Till date he has been the tallest African-American in history. Not much is known about his life, except for the fact that he lived in Tennessee.


3. Leonid Stadnyk

He is the tallest living human being according to most records. There is some uncertainty regarding his exact measurements, since he has not let the official Guinness Book adjudicators measure him, but all records seem to state that he is 8.5”, though a lot of people feel that he appears to be 7’.6”. He weighs about 440 lbs. and is a practising veterinarian in Podolyantsi in Ukraine. Born in 1970, his extraordinary height is believed to be the result of a brain surgery when he was 12 years old, after which he developed an overactive pituitary gland, similar to that of Robert Wadlow.


4. Don Koehler

From 1968 till his death in 1981, Don was recognized as the world’s tallest living man, a resplendent 8’.2”. He had a twin sister who was 5’.10”in height, his own amazing height being a result of an ailment known as acromegalic gigantism. He spent most of his later life unable to stand up straight due to a severe curvature of his spine.


5. Zen Jinlian

The tallest woman who has lived in the 20th century – she grew to the height of 8’.1.5” before she died at the very young age of 17 in 1982. She lived in Hunan in China, and like most extraordinarily tall human beings, suffered from severe spinal problems. Like most other 8 footers, she was born to average height parents, but grew at a rapid pace from infancy.


1 2

About The Author