Robert was born on February 22, 1918, and weighed a normal eight pounds, six ounces. He drew attention to himself when at six months old, he weighed 30 pounds. A year later at 18 months, he weighed 62 pounds. He continued to grow at an astounding rate, reaching six feet, two inches and 195 pounds by the time he was eight years old. While Wadlow was a giant, he was far from being a freak. In fact aside from his remarkable height he was beyond normal. He was a kind, intelligent man who is still remembered as a gentleman some 60 years after his passing. In high school Robert was popular and active in many extracurricular activities, even serving as theadvertising manager for the yearbook. He was completely accepted by his peers. However, when he attended college he lost that acceptance and struggled with the stares. It bothered him so much that he dropped out and returned to his parents quite penniless.
His great size and his continued growth in adulthood was due to hypertrophy of his pituitary gland, which results in an abnormally high level of human growth hormone. He showed no indication of an end to his growth even at the time of his death. His height of 8' 11.1" qualifies him as the tallest person in history, as recorded in the Guinness Book of Records. At the time of his death he weighed 490 pounds. In the centre of the town of Alton stands a statue commemorating Mr. Wadlow. A great photo of Mr. Wadlow is the opportunity tourists can stand beside the bronze statue and get some perspective on how tall this man really was. The absence of patina on his right hand shows just how many people take this opportunity.