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Sandy Allen, World's Tallest Woman Dies at Age 53

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World's Tallest Woman Dies at Age 53


The world’s tallest woman, Sandy Allen, died early this morning at a nursing home in Shelbyville, Ind., at the age of 53.


No cause of death has been released, but a family friend told the Indianapolis Star that Allen had been sick for several months.


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 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.


When a tumor produces too much of one or more hormones, several conditions can occur including gigantism, the National Institutes of health reported on its Web site.


In her first letter to the Guinness Book of World Records in 1974, Allen wrote, “I would like to get to know someone that is approximately my height. It is needless to say my social life is practically nil and perhaps the publicity from your book may brighten my life.”


Following the letter, there was an offer from film director Federico Fellini to take a role in his film "Casanova" in 1975, and then her first date with a 7 foot Illinois man.


In the last years of her life, Allen suffered from poor circulation and weak leg muscles which resulted in her being dependent on a wheelchair.

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How sad...


My son was watching something about 2 weeks ago about her on the Discovery channel.


He (12) was channel surfing until he heard she had a Pituitary Tumor and stopped to watch it because all he has heard from me and about my Pituitary problems....

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I have been wondering about her and how she has been. Bless her heart. She endured so much pain for so long, but she did help raise awareness about pituitary tumors and was able to make a good living at it. May she now rest in peace.

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When I was first out of college, my job was at the State Dept of Public Instruction in Indiana. Every day, I saw Sandy Allen in the cafeteria as she worked for the state of Indiana as well. I consider her to be a pretty amazing woman!


Much peace to her.

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I saw the Discovery show about her two Sundays ago also and wondered how she was doing. She always seemed to have such a positive spirit and sense of humor about her. I'm sorry that she couldn't get help sooner.

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I imagine her death was a result of her tumor in some way as her body just could not handle it anymore, when your body make too much growth hormone it enlarges the organs ect... so she may have died of another illness but the doctor she realize it is in a way a result of her pituitary tumor.


I remember seeing her in our local target store once when I was younger still living at home with my parents, she seemed to be a very nice person.


Here is a copy of an article I found on AOL this morning:


World's Tallest Woman Dies in IndianaBy DEANNA MARTIN, AP

posted: 11 HOURS 32 MINUTES AGOcomments: 342filed under: National News, World NewsPrintShareText SizeAAAINDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 13) - A woman who grew to be 7 feet, 7 inches tall and was recognized as the world's tallest female died early Wednesday, a friend said. She was 53.

Sandy Allen, whose used her height to inspire schoolchildren to accept those who are different, died at a nursing home in her hometown of Shelbyville, family friend Rita Rose said.

Guinness World Record HoldersPhil Meyers, APSandy Allen, who was known as the world's tallest woman at 7 feet, 7 inches tall, died Wednesday at a nursing home in Indiana. While the cause of death was not yet known, Allen had been hospitalized recently for several ailments. She was 53. Click through to see more Guinness record holders.

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The cause of death was not yet known. Allen had been hospitalized in recent months as she suffered from a recurring blood infection, along with diabetes, breathing troubles and kidney failure, Rose said.

In London, Guinness World Records spokesman Damian Field confirmed Wednesday that Allen was still listed as the tallest woman. Some Web sites cite a 7-foot-9 woman from China.

Coincidentally, Allen lived in the same nursing home, Heritage House Convalescent Center, as 115-year-old Edna Parker, whom Guinness has recognized as the world's oldest person since August 2007.

Allen said a tumor caused her pituitary gland to produce too much growth hormone. She underwent an operation in 1977 to stop further growth.

But she was proud of her height, Rose said. "She embraced it," she said. "She used it as a tool to educate people."

Allen appeared on television shows and spoke to church and school groups to bring youngsters her message that it was all right to be different.

Allen weighed 6-1/2 pounds when she was born in June 1955. By the age of 10 she had grown to be 6-foot-3, and by age 16 she was 7-1.

She wrote to Guinness World Records in 1974, saying she would like to get to know someone her own height.

"It is needless to say my social life is practically nil and perhaps the publicity from your book may brighten my life," she wrote.

The recognition as the world's tallest woman helped Allen accept her height and become less shy, Rose said.

"It kind of brought her out of her shell," Rose said. "She got to the point where she could joke about it."

In the 1980s, she appeared for several years at the Guinness Museum of World Records in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

"I'll never forget the old Japanese man who couldn't speak English, so he decided to feel for himself if I was real," she recalled with a chuckle when she moved back to Indiana in 1987.

"At Guinness there were days when I felt like I was doing a freak show," she said. "When that feeling came too often, I knew I had to come back home."

Difficulty with mobility had forced Allen to curtail her public speaking in recent years, Rose said. She had suffered from diabetes and other ailments and used a wheelchair to get around.

Rose is working to set up a scholarship fund in Allen's name, with proceeds going to Shelbyville High School.

"She loved talking to kids because they would ask more honest questions," Rose said. "Adults would kind of stand back and stare and not know how to approach her."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

2008-08-13 18:12:32

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