Robert Pershing Wadlow, the tallest person in recorded history died on this day in 1940, he was just 22 years old. Born in Alton, Illinois he was often referred to as ‘The Gentle Giant’ and at a height of 8 feet 11 inches and a weight of 439 pounds, you can see the name was befitting. His towering height was attributed to an abnormally high level of human growth hormone (HGH) and he continued to grow until his death. During his short life he attained quite a bit of celebrity touring with Ringling Brothers Circus in 1936. He passed in his sleep on July 15, 1940. His coffin required twelve pallbearers and eight assistants to manage it’s hefty size, as it measured 10 feet 9 inches long and weighed over 1,000 pounds. He is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Upper Alton, Illinois.  To read more about the Gentle Giant check out these interesting facts compiled by the St. Louis Today in honor of what would’ve been his 100th Birthday here.

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