By the time he was 9, Wadlow weighed 180 pounds, was 6-feet, 2-inches, and was strong enough to carry his father up and down the stairs in their house.
In elementary school, Wadlow was so big that a special desk had to be constructed for him. By the time he graduated high school, Wadlow stood at 8' 11".
A growth on his pituitary gland was responsible for Wadlow's extraordinary growth. Due to his size, Wadlow required braces to walk, and often suffered from numbness in his legs and feet. His feet were so big that he had to wear a size 37AA shoe. Below is Wadlow's shoe size compared to a normal size 12 shoe.
Wadlow was a national celebrity during his lifetime. In 1936, he toured the country with the Ringling Brother Circus, and did a promotional tour with the INTERCO in 1938. Wadlow did a lot promotional work for clothing companies, who provided his extra large garments free of charge.
Sadly, during an appearance in 1940 at the Manistee National Forest Festival, one of the braces irritated his ankle. The resulting blister caused a parasitic infection. Local doctors tried to treat Wadlow with a blood transfusion and surgery, but to no avail. On July 15, 1940, at the age of 22, standing 8-feet 11-inches and weighing 492 pounds, Wadlow passed away.
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