The Gentle Giant

This passage is about the man who was known as the "Gentle Giant."

Lexile Level: 840L

Categories: People & Places Sports & Health


Alton, Illinois, is famous for three things: it is the birthplace of jazz trumpeter Miles Davis; the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution, which abolishes slavery, was drafted there; and it is the hometown of Robert Pershing Wadlow, the "Gentle Giant." If you have investigated record holders, then you have probably come across a picture of Wadlow. He was the tallest man in history. Due to a pituitary gland tumor, Wadlow started growing very rapidly after his fourth birthday. By the time he was fourteen, his height exceeded that of the tallest professional basketball players. However, his giant body was difficult to manage, and he required leg braces to walk normally. His arms and legs were so long that his hands and feet were numb. Tragically Wadlow died when he was only 22 years old. He was nearly nine feet tall and weighed well over 400 pounds.


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