Happy Birthday to the world’s tallest man living, Sultan Kösen (Türkiye), who turns 40 years old on December 10th.
Sultan celebrated this milestone a few days early, by visiting Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Orlando, USA, where he was overjoyed upon being presented with his birthday cake (which looked more like a cupcake in Sultan’s record-breaking hands).
The 251-cm (8-ft-2.8-in) tall birthday boy also posed next to a life-size statue of Robert Wadlow, the tallest man ever, who, at a height of 272 cm (8 ft 11.1 in), was the first person Sultan has ever had to look up to!
After blowing out his candles, Sultan didn’t keep his birthday wish a secret – he hopes to "travel the remaining countries which I have not visited so far."
"And to keep my record title. I hope there will be no one taller than me," he added, jokingly.
Sultan is now a cultural ambassador for Türkiye and recently participated in a cooking show on Romanian TV before travelling to the USA.
"I am trying to do my best to promote my country, my province, my people, my culture," he told Anadolu Agency last month.
Sultan has now visited 127 countries in total; a feat he once thought impossible, given his extreme height and humble background.
Growing up, Sultan’s supersized stature was somewhat prohibitive. He couldn’t attend school and he was even deemed too tall to play basketball!
Thus, he resigned himself to the life of a farmer in order to support his family. However, that all changed in 2009 when he was officially recognized as the tallest man on Earth.
"After that day, I was born," Sultan recalled.
"Before that, I was a very silent person. Now, I can talk. I’m happy. I’m funny. I enjoy my life."
At the time, we hadn’t measured anyone over 8 feet tall in more than 20 years.
Sultan’s life changed for the better over the following decade. Most importantly, he received free life-saving surgery to stop his endless growth, which was caused by a condition known as pituitary gigantism.
In Sultan’s case, his pituitary gland was damaged by a tumour, leading to excess production of growth hormone. Interestingly, his huge growth spurt didn’t start until he was 10 years old.
In 2016, Sultan fulfilled a life-long dream by making his Hollywood debut in Achieving the Impossible, before going on to tour with the Magic Circus of Samoa.
Despite his success, Sultan says he misses his village, Dedeköy, when he goes on his travels.
However, the money he has earned has enabled Sultan to adapt his home in Dedeköy to accommodate his superlative stature. Although many countries have offered him citizenship, Sultan says he is proud to be a citizen of the Republic of Türkiye.
We’re wishing Sultan a very happy 40th birthday and hope his wish comes true (even if he broke tradition by saying it out loud!)