How the world's only dwarf-giant grew from 4'10" to 7'8"

There are plenty of adults who are 4 feet tall, and there are quite a few who are over 7 feet eight. But only one adult in recorded history has been both 4 feet tall and 7 feet eight. Adam Rainer was born in 1899 in Graz, Austria. He started life as a frail child, with his diminutive stature of just over 4 feet in adulthood branding him a dwarf. He tried to join the military but was deemed too small.

However, at the age of 21, Rainer began to grow at an astonishing pace, averaging over 3 inches per year, ultimately stretching to a towering 7 feet 8 inches. His rapid growth was due to a rare condition called acromegaly, stemming from a pituitary tumor which unleashed a flood of growth hormones. Even before this unexpected growth, Rainer's hands and feet were oddly large, hinting at the oddity that lay within.

In a desperate bid to halt his relentless growth, Rainer underwent surgery to remove the tumor. Yet, his height continued to creep up, albeit more gradually. With time, his health deteriorated. A severe spinal curvature began to warp his frame, he lost vision in one eye, and his hearing dimmed in the other ear. Bedridden and beleaguered by his own body, Rainer's life became a daily battle.

Rainer died in 1950 at the age of 51, being the only person ever to be medically classified both as a dwarf and a giant.