Robert Pershing Wadlow was born in Alton, Illinois on February 22 1918. At the time he weighed only 8' 6 ounces (3.8 kg). He attracted attention due to his rapid growth when all his four siblings grew at a more normal speed. At the age of 13 he became the world's tallest Boy Scout with a height of 7'4 (224 cm).
At age 18 his height was 8'4 (254 cm) and he weighed 390 pounds (177 kg). His size 37 shoes cost $100.00 a pair.
At the age of 20 Wadlow signed a contract with the International Shoe Company; he received free shoes in exchange for a promotional tour. He traveled all around the USA with his father. In 1936 he enrolled in Shurtleff College with the intention of studying law.
By 1937 he had exceeded the previous records. However, his size begun to take its toll. He had to keep braces in his feet to walk and had little sensation in them.
On July 4 1940 Wadlow was taken ill in Manistee, Michigan; a faulty brace had caused a blister and bad infection. Doctors treated him with blood transfusions and emergency surgery but his fever got worse. On July 15 1940 he died in his sleep. He was buried in Alton on July 19.
In 1984 his hometown raised a bronze statue in his memory. His family destroyed his belongings lest they become collectables.