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Man who set record celebrates his birthday at place dedicated to startling statistics

by Susan and Simon Veness

Sultan Kösen, the world’s tallest man, turned 40 years old on December 10, 2022, and marked the occasion with a pre-birthday visit to Orlando’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Sultan Kösen, world's tallest man
The world’s tallest man Sultan Kösen, of Turkey, poses with guests at Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Photos by Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP Images for Ripley Entertainment Inc.

Kösen, who measures a whopping eight-feet three-inches tall, made the trip from his home country of Turkey, having visited 127 countries due to the fame he has enjoyed as the world’s tallest man, a title he received in 2009 when he was measured by Guinness World Records.

Sultan Kösen poses with Robert Wadlow figure

“After that day [that I was announced the tallest man in the world] I was born,” Sultan explained to Ripley’s. “Before that, I was a very silent person. Now, I can talk. I’m happy. I’m funny. I enjoy my life.”

Prior to Kösen, the record was held by Robert Wadlow, whose towering height of eight-feet and 11.1 inches, was recorded in 1940, when Wadlow was 22 years old. He died that same year.

Kösen – whose stature is the result of pituitary gigantism, which causes the release of too much growth hormone – humorously admits he has the goal of “travel[ing to] the remaining countries which I have not visited so far… and to keep my record title. I hope there will be no one taller than me.”

Not only does he hold the title of world’s tallest man, he also earned a second title for the largest hands on a living human being, with each of his hands measuring an astonishing 11.22 inches from the tip of their middle fingers to their wrists.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is currently creating a life-size figure of Kösen to add to their collection.

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