Robert with his family.
Robert Pershing Wadlow was born on February 22, 1918 in Alton, Illinois. His height of 8′ 11.1″ qualifies him as the tallest person in history, as recorded in the Guinness Book of Records. His excessive height was due to an overactive pituitary gland, for which there was no treatment at the time.
In July of 1940 a blister on his ankle led to an infection that, despite treatment, ended his life on the morning of July 15th. Robert was buried in his hometown of Alton. All city businesses closed for the funeral, which was attended by tens of thousands of people. The 1,000-pound casket required 12 pallbearers. In 1985 a life-sized bronze statue of Robert was erected on the campus of the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine.
Nineteen year old Robert Wadlow (height 8ft, 7 inches) the tallest person in recorded history, chatting with a friend after appearing at a charity event in Omaha, Nebraska, April 1, 1937. He grew another 4 inches before his death three years later.