Donald A. Koehler (September 1, 1925 – February 26, 1981) is one of 17 known people in medical history to reach a height of 8 feet (2.44 m) or more. He was generally recognized as the tallest living man in the world from at least 1969 until his death in 1981. At one time, Koehler stood 249 cm (8'2") tall, a result of the medical condition acromegalic gigantism.
|Born||September 1, 1925|
|Died||February 26, 1981 (aged 55)|
He was born in Denton, Montana, United States. Koehler and his twin sister were born to parents of above average height. Their mother was 178 cm (5'10"); their father was 188 cm (6'2"). He started an abnormal period of growth when he was 10 years old. The Guinness Book of World Records confirmed Koehler at a standing height of 249 cm (8'2") tall at his peak. His twin sister was 175 cm (5'9") for a record difference of 74 cm (29") between the two twins as recognized by Guinness.
As a youth, Koehler lived with his family on the north side of Chicago, attending Amundsen High School. He did some work for local auto dealer Jim Moran, demonstrating the spaciousness of the Hudson Motor Car Company's so called "step down design", at least at the annual Chicago Auto Show, but he was bothered too much by doubters who were sure he was on stilts and set out to prove it with ladies' hatpins. He was approached by Abe Saperstein, an owner and coach of the Harlem Globetrotters, a professional novelty basketball team that toured the world; he was to be a player with the team, but declined the offer. He found instead a job that allowed him to lead a more normal life as a salesman for Big Joe Hydraulic Lifts. Granted, he was billed as their biggest salesman, but it was a job that spared him from living in any "freak show business".
Later in life, he suffered from the medical condition kyphosis, resulting in (often severe) curvature of the spine. Koehler died in 1981 in Chicago from a reported heart condition, by which time he was estimated to be about 239 cm (7'10") tall. He was 55 years old.
Unknown: Closest is Väinö Myllyrinne who had the record six years earlier.
| Tallest Recognized Person
Unknown: Closest is Zeng Jinlian who had the record one year later.
- Personal knowledge as a former friend and neighbor