They may be small in stature, but many of the shortest people in the world have lived impressively big lives. From Hollywood stars and authors to social activists who campaign for the rights of the disabled, many of the shortest people in the world are striving to make the world a better place to be. Take a look below for our list of 10 of the shortest people that have ever lived.
1. Lin Yu-chih
Coming in at number 10, Lin Yü-chih was the shortest man in the world until 2009, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Measuring 2 ft. 2.58 inches in height, Lin, who resides in Taipei, Taiwan, suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic disorder, also known as brittle bone disease. Osteogenesis imperfecta hinders bone growth, therefore stunting height. A social activist who was once the subject of a Channel 4 documentary, Lin Yü-chih works as an author, and is also the founder of the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Association.
2. Khagendra Thapa Magar
Known as ‘Little Buddha’ amongst the locals in the Baglung District of Nepal where he was born in 1992, Khagendra Thapa Magar weighed a tiny 600 grams at birth. Nowadays, he measures at 2ft 2 inches. On turning eighteen in 2010 he gained the title ‘Shortest Man in the World’ which he held until 2011. Khagendra Thapa Magar is a primordial dwarf, a form of dwarfism that is known from before birth. He has been the subject of a Channel 4 documentary entitled ‘The World’s Smallest Man and Me.’
3. Istvan Toth
Not a whole lot of information exists on the web in regards to Hungarian István Tóth who once made a claim that at 26 inches in height, he was the shortest man in the world. This claim is unverified by the Guinness Book of Records, and now we may never know if Tóth’s claim was accurate, as he died in 2011 at the age of forty-eight.
4. Madge Bester
South African Madge Bester, at 2ft. 1.5 inches, is a former holder of the title ‘Shortest Woman in the World’. To put this into context, Madge Bester, at fifty-three years old, is smaller than an average one year old baby. Bester, like Lin Yü-chih, suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta, and is confined to a wheelchair as a result of her condition. A campaigner for the rights of the disabled, Bester has spoken along with Lin Yü-chih at conferences on the subject of osteogenesis imperfecta.
5. Lucia Zarate
Lucia Zarate, who was born in Mexico in 1864, was entered into the Guinness Book of Records at the age of seventeen as the lightest person to have ever lived, and is said to have reached her full height (24 inches) at the age of just one year old. The first person to ever have been diagnosed with the rare Majewski osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism type II disease which results in brain and skeletal abnormalities, Zarate achieved some semblance of fame in her short life, when she was put on show as part of an exhibit in the United States. The Washington Post christened Zarate the ‘Marvelous Mexican Midget’, but her short-lived fame came to an end when, in 1890, her circus train became embedded in snow, resulting in Zarate’s death from hypothermia.
6. Junrey Balawing
The shortest living man in the world, Filipino Junrey Balawing reportedly stopped growing a few months after he was born in 1993. At 24 inches tall, Balawing suffers from a number of afflictions, including weak knees and other mobility issues, but an official diagnosis on his condition has never been made public.
7. Jyoti Amge
Star of American Horror Story and the current holder of the Guinness World Record for ‘World’s Shortest Woman’ Jyoti Amge stands at just 2ft. 0.6 inches tall. Born in India in 1993, Amge’s stunted growth is as a result of a condition called Achondroplasia, which is a common cause of dwarfism. It is Amge’s dream to win an Oscar, and she is well on her way to Hollywood fame, having starred in a season of American Horror Story in 2014.
8. Pauline Musters
Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the shortest woman ever recorded, Pauline Musters, who measured just 24 inches at the time of her death, was born in the Netherlands in 1876, and died, afflicted by a deadly combination of pneumonia and meningitis, aged just nineteen.
9. Gul Mohammed
A former shortest man in the world, Gul Mohammed of New Delhi, India, stood at just 1 foot 10.4 inches tall. Born in 1957, Mohammed died at age forty from respiratory complications after multiple health struggles, all of which stemmed from a lifetime of heavy smoking.
10. Chandra Bahadur Dangi
Breaking the record held by Gul Mohammed, Chandra Bahadur Dangi of Nepal, was the shortest man in the world, until his death in 2015. Standing at just 1 foot 9.5 inches tall, Dangi was a primordial dwarf. Prior to being recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records, Dangi had never left the remote Nepalese village of his birth. He used his newfound status as the World’s Shortest Man to travel the world, and to bring attention to the country of his birth.