To no longer grow is a 'blessing' for world's tallest man

March 16, 2012

Turkey's Sultan Kosen, at eight foot three (2.51 meters) the world's tallest living man, says it's "a blessing" he is no longer growing thanks to radiosurgery in the United States.

"I am honored and grateful for this life-saving surgery," said Kosen, 29, via an email to AFP on Thursday from Guinness World Records in London, whose offices he visited the day before.

"Without my record-breaking status, I would never have had the opportunity to tell people about my condition," he added. "It is a blessing."

Nearly two years after gamma ray radiosurgery in the eastern state of Virgina, doctors confirmed this week that Kosen has overcome acromegaly, a rare that caused him to keep growing well into adulthood.

"He's stopped growing, which is good," neurosurgeon Jason Sheehan, who performed the non-invasive procedure that zapped the troublesome within Kosen's brain with extreme precision, told AFP.

"He will still have some medical therapy to deal with the excessive height he has achieved," added Sheehan by telephone from the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.

"However, it is hopeful that he will not have any additional challenges because of continued growth."

Born into a farming family in southeastern Turkey, Kosen gained global renown in September 2009 when Guinness World Records declared him the tallest man in the world. He was then eight feet one inch (2.47 meters) tall.

Acromegaly typically results from a in the pea-sized pituitary gland at the base of the brain. Such a tumor can result in the production of too much growth hormone, leading in turn to , or excessive growth.

Sheehan and his team treated Kosen's tumor in August 2010 with a precisely targeted shot of extremely high frequency , using a non-invasive radiosurgical device known as a .

"While Mr Kosen is the tallest person, he is not unique," Sheehan said. "In terms of pituitary disorders, acromegaly is one of the more common disorders you can have. Obviously, Sultan had an extreme case of it."

Craig Glenday, editor in chief of Guinness World Records, said being a record holder had its benefits, "but none so important than the gift of essential medical treatment that would otherwise be beyond one's means."

" is indebted to the University of Virginia for their kind and generous offers of help," he added.

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