Nowadays, the science can explain the phenomenon of gigantism, but a few centuries ago, people who were much taller than the average, were not always seen with good eyes.
One of the most common causes of extreme height is pituitary gigantism and occurs due to an over-secretion of the growth hormone.
A tumor often stimulates this over-secretion on the pituitary gland, the one that secretes the human growth hormone. The people who are affected by such medical conditions never stop growing, and they usually live until their twenties or thirties.
Robert Wadlow ( 1918-1940, measured 272 cm, 8 ft 11.1 in)
Robert Wadlow holds the record for the tallest person ever; he suffered from a medical condition that affected his pituitary gland and caused growth hormone over-secretion.
He was 8 ft 11 in tall and is confirmed as the tallest person that ever lived.
Robert Wadlow was born in the United States, Illinois, Alton, in 1918.
Suffering from pituitary gland hypertrophy, he grew in height all his life.
When he was eight years old, he already was 6 ft 2 in and had been built a special desk in school. In those times, there were no treatments for this medical condition.
Wadlow suffered from many “side effects” due to this hormonal imbalance: he could barely walk, his bones were brittle, and, as he grew older, he had to wear leg braces.
Named “The Giant of Illinois,” Robert Wadlow died in 1940, at only 22 years old, because of a blister that was caused by one of his leg braces.
Sultan Kösen (born in 1982, measures 251 cm, 8 ft 2.8 in)
The tallest living person in the world is Sultan Kösen, born in 1982.
Like Robert Wadlow, the first on this list, his condition is caused by a pituitary gland tumor that is linked to acromegaly.
Sultan Kösen had a healthy growth rate until he reached the age of 10. He then began to over-grow, and he didn’t stop until 2012 when specialists confirmed that Kösen had stopped growing.
The first attempt of tumor removal, in 2008, was believed to have been successful, but it failed, and au contraire, it accelerated Kösen’s growth rate.
In 2010, an innovative technique was successfully used by a team of doctors at the University of Virginia, who managed to stop Sultan Kösen from growing.
John Rogan (1868–1905, measured 267 cm, 8 ft 9 in)
The second tallest person in the world was born in 1868 in the United States, Tennessee.
John Rogan suffered, at 13 years old, an incredible growth spurt and rapidly started to grow.
His extreme height led to ankylosis (a medical condition in which the joints become stiff due to inflammation), and this condition made walking very hard for him.
Beginning with 1882, he couldn’t walk or stand at all. John Rogan did not manage to integrate well into the society, due to his extreme height condition, but he made a living in his city, selling postcards and pictures of himself.
After he died, in 1905, scientist and many curious people kept digging up his body, he had been buried under a layer of concrete.
John F. Carroll (1932–1969, measured 263 cm, 8 ft 7.5 in)
The “Buffalo Giant” was born in 1932, in the United States, Buffalo, New York.
When he was 16 years old, he started growing at an incredible rate, and he did not stop until 1969, at his death.
The surprising fact about his life is that, at some point, he reported a seven inches growth in just a few months.
He suffered from acromegalic gigantism and did not have an easy life. He had many problems with his spine, due to a double spinal curvature, a condition called kyphoscoliosis.
Because of this spine medical condition, it was tough to estimate Carroll’s exact height, and it is believed that he measured little below the impressive mark of 9 feet.
Väinö Myllyrinne ( 1909–1963, measured 251 cm, 8 ft 3 in)
Väinö Myllyrinne already measured 7 ft by the age of 21. A second growth spurt around the age of 30 took him to 8 ft 3 in.
Born in Helsinki, Finland, Väinö Myllyrinne had been enrolled in the Finnish Defence Forces and is known even in our days as the tallest soldier ever.
He was also recognized as the twelfth greatest Finnish person by Suuret Soumalaiset, a local TV show.
Väinö Myllyrinne suffered from acromegaly, which often leads to abnormal growth and gigantism.
From 1940 until his death he had been the tallest living person.
Edouard Beaupré (1881–1904, measured 251 cm, 8 ft 3 in)
The Canadian Edouard Beaupré measured 251 cm at his death that occurred at the early age of 23.
He was born in Saskatchewan, Canada and at the age of 17, he discovered that he was stronger than the average person.
He joined at 21 the Barnum and Bailey’s Circus as a circus freak (due to his height) and as a strongman. Lifting a hefty weight (900-pound) he broke a leg, and in the last part of his life, he also suffered from tuberculosis.
After his death, doctors discovered that he suffered from a tumor on his pituitary gland. He continuously grew in height until the age of 23, when he died.
Bernard Coyne (1897–1921, measured 249 cm, 8 ft 2 in)
Suffering from a rare condition, eunuchoidal infantile gigantism (a disease commonly known as Daddy Long-Legs Syndrome), Bernard A. Coyne reached in his twenties the height of 8 ft 2 in.
The exact height at the moment of death is unconfirmed, but information from his World War I registration card has shown that he measured in 1918 8 ft and it is still uncertain if in 1921 when he died, he measured 8 ft. 2 in or 8 ft. 4 in.
He did not have an easy life and had many problems with his internal organs, and a medical condition affecting his liver brought his death.
Bernard Coyne’s cause of death was liver hardening, and due to his extreme height, he was buried in a custom-made coffin.
There are only a few people in the world, throughout who have measured 8 ft or more and Bernard A. Coyne is one of them.
At the moment of his death, he was still growing, and if his health status had allowed him to live more, he would have quickly grown over 8 ft 5 in.