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.
6. Zhao Liang
Living as a circus performer in Henan China, Zhao is believed by many to be the tallest man living today, surpassing Leonid Stadnyk, who has not really been accurately measured. He was originally a basketball player, but that career had to be cut short due to an injury to his foot. Presently he earns his living by the playing the saxophone and the flute in a circus in China.
7. Vaino Myllyrinne
The tallest Finn ever, standing at 8’1”, he was an active soldier in the Finnish Army. At the age of 21 he stood at 7’.3.5”, but in his late thirties he had a second spurt of growth and grew to be over 8’ in height. When he died in 1963, he was recorded as the tallest soldier that ever lived.
8. Gabriel Estevao Monjane
From the year 1988 till his death in 1990, Gabriel was officially the world’s tallest man at 8’1”. Born and brought up in Mozambique, he also earned his living by performing in a Portuguese circus. He is believed to be the tallest African ever.
9. Suleiman Ali Nashnush
A Libyan by birth, at 8’.1/2’ he was the tallest man who ever played basketball. One of the few very tall people who underwent surgery to check his exponential growth, he lived life as a player and as a bit actor in films. He had the unique privilege of doing a small role on one of Fredrico Fellini’s films. He died at the age of 1991 in Tripoli in Libya.
10. Gogea Mitu
He was a Rumanian Boxer and achieved a great deal of fame not only due to his extraordinary height of 7’9” but also due to his prowess as a boxer. Nicknamed then “Giant of Marsani”, he was trained by the famous scout Umberto Lucia, who also later became his manager. His enormous appetite was a matter of great interest to everyone, since he was known to consume 2 lbs of bread, two dozen eggs, 2 litres o9f milk and at least 2 lbs. Of chicken for lunch, not counting the sweets and half a litre of wine. His custom made bed was `11 feet long and 6.6”wide.