The world’s tallest woman, Sandy Allen, died early Wednesday morning at a nursing home in her hometown of Shelbyville, Ind. She was 53.
No cause of death has been released, but a family friend said Allen had been sick for several months. She had been hospitalized for a recurring blood infection, along with diabetes, breathing troubles and kidney failure, Rita Rose said.
Allen, who was 7-foot-7, is listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest living woman, and has appeared in the publication since the mid-1970s.
She came into the world weighing an average 6.5 pounds – but her abnormal growth began soon after her birth in June 1955. By the age of 10, Allen stood at 6 feet 3 inches tall and by the age of 16 she towered at over 7 feet tall.
Her height was due to a tumor in her pituitary gland that caused it to release growth hormones uncontrollably, according to the world record book. At the age of 22, she underwent surgery to correct the condition.
But she was proud of her height, Rose said. “She embraced it,” she said. “She used it as a tool to educate people.”
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