Top 10 Tallest People in History

While we don’t belong to the Top 10 of tallest beings in the world, we humans certainly are among the tallest. The average human today is 1.65 meters or 5 feet and 5 inches tall. More precisely, The average global man stands 171 cm / 5 feet and 7.5 inches tall, while the average global woman is 159 cm / 5 feet and 3 inches tall. However, human heights vary extremely between the many regions on our planet. European men and women for example are known to be the tallest humans in general, while Asians are considerably smaller on average. In any case, most humans, even men, stay way below 2 meters (6’6). But once in a while, some people are born that are just exceptionally tall. In fact, there have been 17 humans in history whose height each even exceeded 8 feet (2.44 meters).

The following lists the Top 10 of tallest people to have ever lived.

Robert Wadlow, the tallest person in history, with his family. (Paille / Flickr)

The 10 Tallest People in History

(as of October 2019)

1. ROBERT WADLOW
8 ft 11 in / 2.72 meters
2. JOHN ROGAN
8 ft 9 in / 2.67 meters
3. JOHN CARROLL
8 ft 8 in / 2.64 meters
4. LEONID STADNYK
8 ft 5 in / 2.57 meters
5. TRIJNTJE KEEVER
8 ft 4 in / 2.54 meters
6. VAINO MYLLYRINNE 
8 ft 3 in / 2.514 meters
7. EDOUARD BEAUPRE
8 ft 2.9 in / 2.512 meters
8. SULTAN KOSEN
8 ft 2.89 in / 2.512 meters
9. JINNAT ALI
8 ft 2.82 / 2.51 meters
10. (tied) BERNARD COYNE & DON KOEHLER & VIKAS UPPAL
each 8 ft 2 in / 2.49 meters

1. Robert Wadlow

robert wadlow - tallest person in history

1918 – 1940
Nationality: USA

With a standing height of 8 ft 11 in / 2.72 meters, American Robert Wadlow was the tallest person in history. Wadlow was born on February 22, 1918 in Alton, a small town in Western Illinois. He was therefore also known as the “Alton Giant” and the “Giant of Illinois”. Wadlow became a national sensation in the United States. Unfortunately, his height also came with a limited mobility. Wadlow needed braces to walk and had a very suppressed feeling in his feet and legs. On July 15, 1940, Wadlow died after a public event he was invited to in Manistee, Michigan. The cause of death was an ankle infection he suffered because of a faulty brace he wore. He was only 22 years old.

2. John Rogan

john rogan - second tallest person in history

1868 – 1905
Nationality: USA

Until Robert Wadlow surpassed him in the 1930s, John Rogan, measuring 8 ft 9 in / 2.67 meters, was regarded the tallest human to have ever lived. He is still known as the tallest person of African descent to have ever lived. Rogan was born on February 16, 1868 in the small town of Hendersonville, Tennessee, USA. Rogan’s father was a freed slave from Northern Tennessee. Until the age of 13, Rogan’s physical development was normal and showed no irregularities. But shortly after his 13th birthday, his body started to grow abnormally fast. At 14, he was no longer able to walk or even just stand because of the ankylosis he suffered from the rapid growth of his skeleton. As an fully grown adult, Rogan was offered several jobs at carnivals and so called freak shows but declined each of them. He instead worked as a painter. In September 1905 Rogan died due to complications of his ankylosis. He was 37 years old.

3. John Carroll

third tallest person in the world

1932 – 1969
Nationality: USA

The third tallest person in history was also American. John Carroll was born in 1932 in Buffalo, New York. In the media and medical literature he was also known as the “Buffalo Giant”. He stood 8 ft 8 in / 2.64 meters tall as a fully grown adult. Carroll suffered both from Acromegaly (abnormal enlargement of the hands and feet) as well as Kyphoscoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine), which worsened with his rapid growth after turning 16. Despite his conditions, Carroll tried to live a normal life and even (unsuccessfully) ran for public office. In late 1969 Carroll then, however, died at a hospital in Lackawanna, New York near his hometown of Buffalo. He was 37 years old.

4. Leonid Stadnyk

leonid stadnyk - fourth tallest person in the world

1970 – 2014
Nationality: Ukraine

Leonid Stadnyk was the fourth tallest human to have ever lived. At the same time, the Ukrainian was also the tallest non-American to have ever lived. He was born on August 5, 1970 in a small village near the city of Zhytomyr in northern Ukraine (back then part of the Soviet Union). Stadnyk stood 8 ft 5 in / 2.57 meters tall. His rapid growth started after a needed brain surgery he had to go through when he was 13 years old. The surgery caused the development of a brain tumor which released abnormal amounts of growth hormones. Thankfully, the tumor did not end up being deadly but it did cause Stadnyk to grow abnormally fast. On August 24, 2014, Stadnyk ultimately died from a sudden brain hemorrhage, however. He was 45 years old.

5. Trijntje Keever

tallest woman in history

1616 – 1633
Nationality: Netherlands

Trijntje Keever was the tallest female to have ever lived and fifth tallest person in history. Keever was born in April 1616 in the small town of Edam in Northwestern Netherlands. On the day of her death she measured 8 ft 4 in / 2.54 meters. Keever very quickly in her life became a sensation due to her rapid growth. Her parents took her to carnivals where people would pay to see Trijntje Keever, who was known as the “De Groote Meid” (“The Big Girl”) in the Netherlands and subsequently all over Europe. Even foreign royalties such as Frederick the V., King of Bohemia, came to visit Keever. Her famous life was cut short due to cancer, however. Trijntje Keever died on July 2, 1633. She was only 17 years old.

6. Vaino Myllyrinne

1909 – 1963
Nationality: Finland

7. Edouard Beaupre

1881 – 1904
Nationality: Canada

8. Sultan Kosen

1982 – still alive (tallest human alive)
Nationality: Turkey

9. Jinnat Ali

1996 – still alive
Nationality: Bangladesh

10. (tied) Bernard Coyne & Don Koehler & Vikas Uppal

1897 – 1921 / 1925 – 1981 / 1986 – 2007
Nationalities: USA / USA / India


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