Tuesday, March 16, 2010

He Pingping

The world's shortest man, He Pingping, has died at the age of 21. Pingping's world record stature of 29" was due to primordial dwarfism and was recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records in 2008. "For such a small man, he made a huge impact around the world. From the moment I laid eyes on him I knew he was someone special – he had such a cheeky smile and mischievous personality, you couldn't help but be charmed by him. He brightened up the lives of everyone he met and was an inspiration to anyone considered different or unusual," said Guiness's Craig Glenday. He became an international celebrity in a matter of weeks and marked the publication of the 2009 Guiness yearbook by posing between the knees of 6' 5" Russian Svetlana Pankratova, the world's leggiest woman. His name means "wine bottle," he chain-smoked cigarettes, and he was said to be quite a ladies' man.

Earlier this year Pingping travelled to Istanbul to launch of the Guinness World Records live roadshow, posing with the world’s tallest man, 8' 1" Sultan Kösen of Turkey. Pingping was in Rome taping a TV show when he began suffering chest pains and was admitted to the hospital 2 weeks ago. He died on Saturday of a heart condition. There are plans to return his body to China, where he is survived by his parents and 2 sisters, all average-sized. “We just did not expect this bad news. Pingping went to Italy… and he called us every day saying he wasn’t eating well and that he missed us," said his sister Lihua.

Pingping was born - no bigger than the palm of his father's hand - in Wulanchabu, Inner Mongolia, China, which is also where the world's tallest man (until September 2009), Bao Xishun, is from. Pingping was diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta.

Next in line for the title of world's shortest man may well be Khagendra Thapa Magar of Nepal, who is only 22" tall, but had to wait until his 18th birthday in October 2009 to apply.

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