Robert Wadlow On this day in 1918, Robert Pershing Wadlow, who would go on to become the world’s tallest man, was born to Harold and Addie Wadlow. He was the oldest of five children and was born an average size.

By age five, however, he had grown to 5 feet 4 inches, and by age eight he was almost 6 feet tall. By the time he was 17, he was over 8 feet tall.

After graduating high school in 1936, Wadlow planned to study law, but instead he embarked on a tour with the famous Ringling Brothers Circus, rocketing him to worldwide fame. Once, when asked in a radio interview if he was annoyed when people stared at him, he calmly replied, "No, I just overlook them."

Doctors discovered that his immense height was caused by an abnormally high level of the human growth hormone, which he was never given treatment to regulate. His last measured height was 8 feet 11 inches.

Sadly, in 1940 Wadlow died at just 22 years old from an infected blister on his ankle caused by a poorly-fitted leg brace he had to wear due to his height. He was laid to rest at Oakwood Cemetery in Alton in a coffin stretching over 10 feet long.

Today, he is still listed as the World’s Tallest Man (Ever) in the book of Guinness World Records. You can visit a life-sized statue of Robert Wallow on College Avenue in Alton or stop by the Alton Museum of History and Art to view the room dedicated to him, which holds his custom third-grade desk and his oversized grade school ring.