Robert Wadlow, the world's tallest man (8 feet 11 inches)seen here joking with elevator operator. He was known as the "Alton Giant" after the town of Alton, Illinois, which he was born and grew up in.
Born on February 22, 1918 in Alton, Illionois, Robert Pershing Wadlow was and still is the tallest person ever. His size was a result of hypertrophy of his pituitary gland, which causes an abnormal amount of human growth hormone to be produced. A disease that would keep him growing taller and taller, until his death.
At the age of 4 young Robert was already the height of the average male adult during the time, at 5 feet and 4 inches. When he reached 8 years of age he was taller than the average size man at 6 feet and 2 inches. At age 13 he reached his first record. "World's tallest Boy Scout". He was 7 feet and 4 inches.
He became an American celebrity after he joined the "Ringling Brothers Circus" on tour in 1936. He made many other public appearances after that. So much activity caused problems however for his condition, and he required leg braces to walk around. It would be these very things that enabled him, which would also kill him. After his performance at the Manistee National Forest Festival he complained that one of his braces was bothering his leg. Sure enough there was an infected blister. Doctors treated it, but there wasn't much they could do. On July 15, 1940 Robert died in his sleep at the age of 22 years old.
Interesting fact: He was a Freemason. In 1939 he petitioned Franklin Lodge #25 in Alton, Illionois. He was given the title of "Master Mason".