RIP He Pingping, the World's Smallest Man

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JANUARY 14:   He Pingping (...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife


He was called “cheeky” and “mischievous,” and now  Guinness record holder He Pingping will be called the former smallest man in the world. At only 21 years old, He (he) died in Rome after being admitted to a hospital with chest pains.

He, born with primordial dwarfism, was 2 feet 5 inches tall.  That’s roughly as tall as an average sized nightstand, or a briefcase, or a teddy bear you might win at a carnival.  He was born in Inner Mongolia which, oddly enough, is also where the former tallest man in the world lives.

Regrettably for He, he was a chain smoker, a habit that in combination with his genetic disorder produces profoundly bad results.  Primordial dwarfism affects between 100,000 and 500,000 people in the U.S. alone–a rare condition, but not as rare as you might think. The oldest living person with the condition is in her mid forties.

The next likely smallest man in the world is an 18 year old from Nepal who is 22 inches tall.

Here’s a video clip of He when he met the woman with the world’s longest legs (I wonder how that gets judged, exactly?). And below that is He meeting the world’s tallest man.The last one is a sort of homage video showing He just doing his thing.

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3 thoughts on “RIP He Pingping, the World's Smallest Man

  1. Mr. Disalvo

    Please do me a favor and make my Brain Spin. How exactly is it that the shortest man in the world just died, at 2 feet 5 inches tall just died, and he is to be replaced by a man who is 22 inches tall? Could it possibly be that HE is not the shortest man in the world?

  2. Craig — you are correct. However, Guiness publishes its records based on when a particular person is located who meets the record-making criteria. At the time He Pingping earned the record, he was the smallest known man who could stand upright (that’s the other part of it, btw). The man from Nepal was discovered at some point after the record was established and evidently Guiness did not see fit to strip He of his record, though perhaps that would have happened if he’d lived longer.

    • From what I can find out, it seems that when he applied, the fellow from Nepal was less than 18, and Guinness promised to re-evaluate him. There’s no record that they did, however, and I’m not entirely sure he’s still alive.

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