American Folk Figure. He holds the title of “World Tallest Man”, being the tallest human being whose height was verifiable and irrefutable. Born in Alton, Illinois with normal height and weight at birth, an overactive pituitary gland led to his extraordinary growth. By age eight he was 6 feet tall, and by age eighteen he had reached 8 feet, 4 inches tall and weighed 390 pounds. When he was twenty years old he and his father were traveling on goodwill tours for the International Shoe Company visiting over 800 towns and 41 states. His size 37 shoes were provided to him free of charge. Both he and his father traveled over 300,000 miles on their goodwill tour for the shoe company. As a youngster, Robert was in very good health, but his large feet had troubled him for many years. While on a tour in Michigan he developed blisters on his feet which became infected. Doctors performed surgery and administered blood transfusions, but the infection lingered, and he died of it on July 15, 1940. A thousand-pound casket was required to inter him, with a dozen pallbearers and the assistance of 8 other men. 40,000 people attended the funeral in his hometown of Alton, and all city businesses voluntarily closed down for the day. In 1985 a life-sized bronze statue of Robert Wadlow was erected on campus of the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine in Alton.