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The Tallest Woman in History: Zeng Jinlian

Zeng Jinlian (June 25, 1964 - February 13, 1982) was the tallest woman ever verified in medical history, taking over Jane Bunford's record. Zeng Jinlian was born on June 26, 1964 in Yuijan Village, China.

At the time of her death, due to diabetes, at the age of 17 in Hunan, China, Zeng, who would have been 8 feet, 1.75 inches (249 cm.) tall (she could not stand straight because of a severely deformed spine), was the tallest person in the world.

According to records her increased growth was apparent at 4 months old, and at age 4 she was over 5 feet tall. Using these figures on average she would have grown 5 inches per year. She is said to have been able to lift a 110-pound bag of cement at the age of 5 and slept in a specially made 8-foot bed. In March of 1981, when her illness was first reported, she measured 7 feet, 10.75 inches. Her last weights measured as 290 lbs.

Zeng mother was only 5 ft 1/2 inch and her father was 5 ft and 2 inch. None of her three brothers were excessively tall. Zeng's growth patterns mirrored those of Robert Wadlow. She was the second woman in recorded history to become the tallest person in the world. In the year between Don Koehler's death and her own, she surpassed fellow "eight-footers" Gabriel Estevao Monjane and Suleiman Ali Nashnush. Jane Bunford was the first. At the time of her death, Miss Zeng relinquished her throne as tallest living woman to 7-foot, 7-inch Sandy Allen from Indiana. Zeng is also the only woman counted among the fourteen people who have reached verified heights of eight feet or more.

She was affected by pituitary tumor which caused gigantism and she had diabetes. Doctors wanted to treat her by radiation and surgery but she refused as it would cause her to lose her hair. Under the best of circumstances this rapid growth would have been extremely stressful on Zeng and her family especially in context of her locality where people do not grow so tall it had to be difficult.

She liked to eat eggs a lot, being that her family were farmers and owned a vast amount of chickens.