Yao Defen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Yao Defen (姚德芬)
Born (1972-07-15)July 15, 1972
Shucheng, Liuan, Anhui, China
Died November 13, 2012(2012-11-13) (aged 40)
Known for Tallest living woman (former; deceased)
World record holder
Height 2.34 m (7 ft 8 in)[1]

Yao Defen (Chinese: 姚德芬; pinyin: Yáo Défēn) of China, (July 15, 1972 – November 13, 2012[2]) was the tallest living woman, as recognized by Guinness World Records.[3] She stood at 234 centimetres (7 ft 8 in) tall, weighed 144 kilograms (317 lb), and had size 23 (US) feet.[4] Her gigantism was due to a tumor in her pituitary gland.

Early life[edit]

Yao Defen was born to poor farmers in the town of Liuan in the Anhui province of Shucheng County. At birth she weighed 2.8 kilograms (6.2 lb). When she was eleven years old she was about 180 centimetres (6 ft 2 in) tall. She was 206 centimetres (6 ft 9 in) tall by the age of fifteen years.

The story of this "woman giant" began to spread rapidly after she went to see a doctor at the age of fifteen years for an illness. Medical doctors (who also saw her after years) properly diagnosed the illness but decided not to cure her, because her family did not have the 4000 yuan for the surgery.[5] After that, many companies attempted to train her to be a sports star. The plans were abandoned, however, because Yao was too weak. Because she was illiterate, since 1992 Defen earned a living by traveling with her father and performing.

Yao's giant stature was caused by a condition called acromegaly, wherein a large tumor in the pituitary gland of the brain releases too much growth hormone and causes excessive growth. Around 2002 a hospital in Guangzhou Province removed the tumor. In 2009, the TLC cable TV network devoted a whole night's show to her. She fell in her home and had internal bleeding of the brain. She recovered and felt some happiness after a visit from China's tallest man, Zhang Juncai.

Medical help[edit]

A British television program filmed a documentary on her and helped raise money so she could get proper medical care. Two leading doctors in acromegaly agreed to help Yao. In that hospital, her growth hormone was greatly slowed down, although it remained a problem. Upon her return home to her mother and brother, she was able to walk with crutches, unassisted by others, and was given a six-month supply of medicines and supplements in hopes of improving her condition enough to undergo surgery.


Yao died on November 13, 2012 at the age of 40 from an unspecified ailment.[6]

Preceded by
Sandy Allen
Tallest Recognized Woman
Succeeded by
Sun Fang

See also[edit]


  1. ^ weight = 144.2 kg /search/tallest%2Bwoman/video/x64w5h_guinness-world-recors-tallest-woman_lifestyle measured at 234 cm Ultimate Guinness World Records tv series
  2. ^ "皖籍"世界第一女巨人"姚德芬去世|女性|半岛网". News.bandao.cn. 2012-11-15. Archived from the original on 2012-12-09. Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  3. ^ Glenday, Craig (ed.) Guinness World Records 2011. Guinness World Records, 2010.
  4. ^ "The Biggest Wish of Asia's Tallest Woman". Theepochtimes.com. 2006-03-11. Archived from the original on 2006-07-16. 
  5. ^ Discovery document, part of "My shocking story" film series.
  6. ^ "World's tallest woman, 39, dies in China". cbsnews. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 

External links[edit]