World’s Tallest Woman, 7-Foot-8 Yao Defen, Dead At Age 40

Yao Defen, who grew to be 7-foot-8 (2.34 meters) due to a tumor in her pituitary gland, died on November 13 in her hometown of Zhucheng, Anhui province. We’re not sure why it’s taken three weeks for reporters to get around to this story, but here it is on Daily Mail, etc.:

A neighbour recalled how on the morning of Yao’s death, her widowed mother came running out of the family house .

The woman, named only as Zhang, reportedly said: ‘It was 9am in the morning, just after breakfast, when her mother shouted that the girl was hurt.

‘People immediately rushed over to their home. I saw Yao lying on the bed – she wasn’t breathing.

‘Later, her sister arrived and the doctor soon confirmed her death. Her sad mother cried then fainted.’

The Guinness Book of World Records didn’t recognize Yao as the world’s tallest woman until its 2011 edition, according to this website for giants. American Sandy Allen had held the distinction until her death on August 13, 2008.

Yao weighed 200 kg (440 lbs) and would have worn size-20 shoes (57 EU).

She had actually undergone surgery to remove part of her tumor, but it wasn’t completely successfully. Apparently the family didn’t have enough money for a second try.

We’re informed that Yao made a living by traveling with her father and performing. Her mother wasn’t exactly normal-sized herself: at 4-foot-8, she would’ve measured on the short side.

    One Response to “World’s Tallest Woman, 7-Foot-8 Yao Defen, Dead At Age 40”

    1. 这是中国!!!

      So sad. I watched a documentary about this woman in which the doctors in her local hospital refused to tell her that a pituitary gland specialist from a big Shanghai hospital offered to pay all of her expenses to go there to be treated because it would make them lose face to admit that they couldn’t treat her. Her life was utterly depressing. Poor woman.


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