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. at 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 1l b) 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), he had an arm span of 2.88 m (9ft 5.75 in), and his hands measured 32.4 cm (12.75 in) from the wrist to the tip of the middle finger.

Robert's peak daily food consumption was 8000 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.

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 Kosen (tallest living man at 8ft 3in).

In the video below, 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.

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

Read more: On This Day in 1940: The tallest man ever is measured

The last 10 tallest people date back almost 100 years. No one has yet beaten Wadlow – the tallest man ever.
Name (nationality) Height (cm) Year
Bernard Coyne (USA) 248 1921
Robert Wadlow (USA) 272 1940
Edward “Ted” Evans (UK) 234 1957
Suleiman Ali Nashnush (LBY) 246 1964
John F Carroll (USA) 263 1966
Don Koehler (USA) 248 1970
Haji Mohammad
Alam Channa (PAK) 232 1981
Radhouane Charbib (TUN) 235 1999
Xi Shun (CHN) 236 2005
Sultan Kösen (TUR) 251 2011