Pershing Wadlow was born February 22, 1918 in Alton, Illinois. At the
time of his death at age 22, he was 8' 11.1" tall, which made him the
in history according to the Guinness
Book of Records. He also weighed 490 songs.
His parents, Addie and Harold Wadlow, always loved and protected him to the best of their abilities, honoring his desire to be treated as a "normal" person. They even destroyed his personal belongings after his death so that no one could profit from the exploitation of them.
Robert promoted the International Shoe Company, which provided size 37 shoes to him for free. Traveling for the shoe company, he visited more than 800 towns in 41 states.
Robert's size was attributed to an overactive pituary gland, which produced much higher than normal levels of growth hormone. Because of his extremely long legs caused by pituitary giantism, he had little sensation in his feet and did not feel any chafing until blisters formed. While making an appearance in 1940, a fatal infection set in when such a blister formed due to the braces he had to wear to strengthen his overly long legs. On July 15, Robert passed away in his sleep from the infection.