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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 August 2007, 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK
Ukrainian is world's tallest man
Leonid Stadnyk refused to be measured by Guinness World Records in the past

A Ukrainian man has been named the world's tallest living person by the Guinness Book of Records, beating the previous record holder by 22cm (8in).

Leonid Stadnyk, a 37-year-old former veterinarian from Podolyantsi in central Ukraine, was measured at 2.57m (8ft 5in), the records authority said.

He began to grow rapidly aged 14, when an operation on his brain reportedly stimulated his pituitary gland.

The previous title holder, Bao Xishun of China, is 2.36m (7ft 9in) tall.

Mr Bao overtook a Tunisian man, Radhouane Charbib, by just 2mm last year.

Frostbite

Mr Stadnyk has claimed to be the world's tallest man before, but his record was not verified because he repeatedly refused to be measured by the Guinness Book of Records.

Born to parents who were 1.73m (5ft 8in) and 1.52m (5ft) tall in a tiny village 209km (130 miles) west of the capital, Kiev, Mr Stadnyk was not unusually large as a young boy.

Leonid Stadnyk's size 64 shoes
Mr Stadnyk has a lot of trouble buying shoes to fit his feet

However, after having an operation to relieve hydrocephalus, which causes the brain to swell with fluid, he began a massive growth spurt.

By the time he had qualified as a vet and begun working at a clinic an hour away, Mr Stadnyk measured 2.03m (6ft 8in).

He soon outgrew his bike and began taking the bus. He later became too large for the bus and had to use the family's horse-drawn cart.

Mr Stadnyk had to give up his job six years ago, after his feet were frostbitten because he could not afford proper shoes for his size 64 feet.

He now tends to his mother's livestock and grows vegetables on their farm in Podolyantsi.

But Mr Stadnyk still has 15cm (6in) to grow if he is to match the tallest man in history.

Robert Wadlow, from the US state of Illinois, measured 2.72m (8ft 11in) when he died in 1940.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Leonid Stadnyk in his house



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Country profile: Ukraine
02 Mar 04 |  Country profiles

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