Tallest man ever
Robert Wadlow
272 centimetre(s)
United States (Alton, Illinois)

The tallest man in medical history for whom there is irrefutable evidence is Robert Pershing Wadlow (USA) (born 6:30 a.m. in Alton, Illinois, USA on 22 February 1918), who when last measured on 27 June 1940, was found to be 2.72 m (8 ft 11.1 in) tall.

Robert died at 1:30 a.m. on 15 July 1940 in a hotel in Manistee, Michigan, as a result of a septic blister on his right ankle caused by a brace, which had been poorly fitted only a week earlier.

He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Alton in a coffin measuring 3.28 m (10 ft 9 in) long, 81 cm (32 in) wide and 76 cm (30 in) deep.

Robert's greatest recorded weight was 222.71 kg (35 st 1 lb) on his 21st birthday and he weighed 199 kg (31 st 5 lb) at the time of his death.

His shoe size was a huge 37AA (47 cm long) giving him the largest feet ever, he had an arm span of 2.88 m (9ft 5.75 in), and his hands - the largest hands ever - measured 32.4 cm (12.75 in) from the wrist to the tip of the middle finger.

Robert's peak daily food consumption was 8,000 calories - more than three times the amount recommended for average-sized males.

At the age of nine, he was able to carry his father Harold F. Wadlow (d. September 1967) later Mayor of Alton, who stood 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in) and weighed 77 kg (170 lb), up the stairs of the family home.

He also holds the record for tallest teenager ever (male) as he measured 2.45 m (8 ft 0.5 in) at the age of 17.

His last words were: "The doctor says I won't get home for the....celebrations" (a reference to his paternal grandparents' golden wedding).

For our 60th anniversary, we looked back over the years at the tallest men, from Robert Wadlow to Sultan Kösen (tallest man living at 8 ft 2.8 in).

In the video above, Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday explains how this category is one of our most iconic, featuring archive footage and interviews with medical experts and celebrities.

And he explained why Robert will be the tallest man ever forever.

We also talk to school children who give their take on the challenges faced with being the tallest man in the world.

Read more about Robert:

The tallest people over time

This is a chronological list of all the people who have held the title of either tallest man or tallest person over the course of the 20th century:

• 1900-Sep 1905 - John William "Bud" Rogan (USA) - 267 cm

• Sep 1905–Aug 1912 - Fyodor Andreevich Makhnov (BLR) - 239 cm

• Aug 1912–April 1918 - Frederick Kempster (UK/CAN) - 237 cm

• Apr 1918(?)–May 1921 - Bernard Coyne (USA) - 254 cm

• May 1921–1933 - Albert Johan Kramer (NLD) - 237.5 cm

• 1933–July 1940 - Robert Wadlow (USA) – the tallest man ever - 272 cm (final height, passed the 245-cm mark in 1935)

• July 1940–1959 - Väinö Myllyrinne (FIN) - 251 cm

• 1959–Aug 1969 - John Carroll (USA) - 263.5 cm (adjusted figure, standing height 243.8 cm)

• Aug 1969–Feb 1981 - Donald Koehler (USA) - 248.9 cm

• Feb 1981–Feb 1982 - Zeng Jinlian (CHN) - 246.3 cm

• Feb 1982–Jan 1990 - Gabriel Estavao Monjane (MOZ) - 245.7 cm

• Jan 1990–Jul 1998 - Mohammad Alam Channa (PAK) - 231.7 cm / Sandy Allen (USA) - 231.7 cm

• Jul 1998–Jan 2005 - Radhouane Charbib (TUN) - 235.9 cm

• Jan 2005–Feb 2009 - Bao Xishun (CHN) - 236.1 cm

• Feb 2009–present - Sultan Kösen (TUR) - 246.5 cm (initially), 251 cm (from Feb 2011)