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Who Is Sultan Kosen - World's Tallest Living Man. Photo Reuters

Who is Sultan Kosen?

Sultan Kösen (born 10 December 1982) is a Turkish farmer who holds the Guinness World Record for tallest living male at 251 centimetres (8 ft 2.82 in).Kösen's growth resulted from the conditions gigantism and acromegaly, caused by a tumour affecting his pituitary gland.

Hailing from the Kurdish village of Dede in Turkey's Mardin province, Kosen - at 251cm tall - has held the Guinness World Record for the world's tallest living man since 2009.

He is the seventh tallest man recorded in history.

His abnormal height is the result of a condition called acromelagy, or an excess of growth hormones produced in adulthood.

He has travelled to 127 countries and said he was "so happy" to become the record holder.

Sultan Kösen is not only known for his height but for his hands and feet also. According to the Guinness World’s Records, his hands measured 11 inches while his left foot measured 14 3/8 inches and the right one 14 inches. This makes him have the record of the second largest feet.

Growing up

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Sultan and the shortest man in the world. Photo Guiness

Sultan was born on 10 December 1982, but he didn’t start his incredible growth spurt until he was 10 years old.

The rest of his family, including his parents and four siblings, are all average size.

Kösen lives with his parents, three brothers and sister, who are all of typical height. He was unable to complete his education because of his height, so instead worked part-time as a farmer. He describes the advantages of being tall as seeing a great distance and being able to help his family with domestic tasks such as changing light bulbs and hanging curtains. He says that his disadvantages are not being able to find clothes, with his legs measuring 49.5 inches (126 cm), his arms measuring 38 inches (97 cm), and not being able to find shoes for his size 28 feet, as well as finding it difficult to fit into an average-sized car.

Secret about his height

Photo Guiness
Photo Guiness

Sultan's unique growth and massive height is caused by a condition known as "pituitary gigantism", which is the result of an over-production of growth hormone.

Growth hormone is released from the pituitary gland in the brain; if the gland is damaged by a tumour, for example, it can release too much (or too little) hormone. The effects of over-production include large hands, a thickening of the bones and painful joints.

Due to his extreme size, Sultan was never able to finish school and instead began working as a farmer to support his family.

He previously described one of the advantages of being tall as being able to help his mum out with jobs such as changing a broken light bulb and hanging curtains.

As for the disadvantages to his height, he complained about not being able to find clothes or shoes that fit and finding it extremely hard to fit into a regular-size car.

As a teenager, Sultan was signed to the Galatasaray basketball team, but unfortunately he was too tall to play. However, he remains a fan of the sport to this day.

Advantages of his height

Sultan Kösen shared that even though his height has some disadvantages, it also has some advantages. He mentioned that aside from seeing from a great distance, he also helps his family with other domestic tasks like changing light bulbs and also hanging curtains.

He stands above the tallest woman in the world

Interestingly, Sultan stands above the tallest woman in the world who is also from Turkey, Rumeysa Gelgi who has a height of 7 feet 0.7 inches. She was recorded in 2021 at the age of 24, by the Guinness World Records as the tallest woman alive. Her height is also due to a condition which is known as Weaver Syndrome which causes one to grow very fast.

In spite of his massive height, Sultan stands shorter than the tallest man to ever live, Robert Pershing Wadlow who had a height of 8 feet 11 inches. However, he is taller than Sandra Elaine Allen, who is the tallest woman to ever live, standing at 7 feet 7 inches tall.

He received gamma knife treatment to stop his growth

In 2010, Kösen began to receive gamma knife treatment for his pituitary tumor. He received treatment at the University of Virginia medical school.

It was during the treatment that he was given medication to control his growth hormone and in March 2012, it was confirmed that his excessive growth has been halted by the treatment he received.

What is he doing now?

Photo Orange Country Register
Photo Orange Country Register

Sultan Kösen’s name is now recognised everywhere around the globe and he has become famous for his extraordinary height.

Since receiving the vital medical treatment he needed to stop his growth, Sultan has been invited to star in a number of Hollywood movies. In 2016, he accepted his debut film role in Achieving the Impossible.

"I made up my mind finally when the screenwriter came to visit me in Mardin, we talked there and I do like the subject of achieving the impossible," he told the Daily Mail.

He spent much of 2016 touring the Indian Ocean with the Magic Circus of Samoa.

In the past eight years since Sultan became a Guinness World Records title holder, he has accomplished so many of the dreams he talked about in 2009. He received the life-saving medical treatment that stopped him growing any further, swapped the farm for Hollywood and found love. The story of the world’s tallest man continues to inspire people all over the globe.

Getting married

Photo Reuters
Photo Reuters

Sultan and Merve Dibo, who is nine years his junior and just 5 ft 9 in (1.75 metres) tall, met through a mutual friend.

Merve travelled from her home of Hasaki, in Syria, to his village Dede köy in Turkey to meet him. They were married two months later.

The couple enjoyed a full wedding party after the ceremony, with over 1,500 guests, including a representative from Guinness World Records and local dignitaries.

After the wedding, the happy couple headed back to their specially designed home in Dede köy, where they hope to bring up children in the future.

His wife speaks only Arabic while he speaks Turkish

Despite the warnings she received on not marrying the world’s tallest man, Merve Dibo married him anyway.

The two fell in love almost immediately and did not allow anyone to discourage their union.

Not even Kösen’s incredible height could stand in their way. Merve Dibo stands 5 feet 9 inches while her husband stands at 8 feet 2.8 inches.

His wife is ten years younger than him but that was not their problem at first. The biggest challenge Kösen was faced with was communicating with his beloved wife.

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