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Yao Defen - The World's Tallest Woman

Updated on July 13, 2014

Yao Defen was born on July 15th, 1972 in China. She is 7'8" tall and weighs 440 pounds. He massive size is due to a tumor which was on her pituitary glad but was removed to halt her growing.

Her growth started very early. At six years of age, she was already eating three times the normal amount of food compared to other children in her village. By elven year old, she was already over six feet tall. By fifteen, she was six feet and nine inches in height.

At fifteen, she saw a doctor to see if he could figure out what was causing her abnormal growth. She saw several doctors before they were finally able to diagnose the cause, however, her family was unable to do anything about it because the surgery would cost 4000 yuan ($640 USD), which they did not have.

At first, Defen had a dream to become a popular sports star to earn a living, but because of her condition she was too weak to play sports. Instead, she traveled with her father and performed shows in order to earn money.

At one point, a hospital in Guangzhou Province removed the tumor, but it came back in 2007. However, she is unable to get the new tumor removed due to a lack of funds.

Yao Defen has many health problems due to her rapid growth and large size. She suffers complications from osteoporosis, hypertension, heart disease and poor nutrition. Because of her condition, the onset of puberty was delayed. Because of this, she presents no secondary sexual characteristics. Other problems include the potential for premature death if she does not have surgeries to treat her conditions.


Yao Defen died in December 2012 at the age of 40. The causes of her death are currently unknown.

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