The world has always been fascinated by the limits of the human body: it’s incredible just how adaptable and durable we truly are. The Guinness Book of World Records was founded in November of 1951, as a way of maintaining documented proof of our greatest achievements, or (to some) our greatest failures; you can find anything from feats of strength to genetic mutations, but the most interesting records have always been the largest things in the world. Whether it’s the largest pumpkin, or the largest tree, The Guinness Book of World Records has always been there to remind us that bigger is better.
Only the truth is that sometimes bigger isn’t better, like when it comes to our weight for example; don’t get me wrong, a few extra pounds isn’t that bad at all, but when you start crossing the thousand pound mark, things start to get a little out of control. But who are the fattest people to ever walk (or crawl) the face of the earth? We’ve scoured the records books and local fast food chains to find out, and tell you their heart wrenching stories. Here are the top 10 people who chose to live a supersized life.
10 – Robert Earl Hughes (1,069 Pounds)
Before his death in 1958 at the age of 32, Robert Earl Hughes was the heaviest person to ever live; before had had even turned six years old, he had already accumulated a weight of over two hundred pounds, which had nearly doubled only four years later. When Robert had reached the weight of 1,041 pounds he was confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the heaviest man in history, but before his death shortly after he had put on even more weight.
Hughes had become quite the celebrity in his time: he served as a feature event at carnivals, fairs, and festivals, and had scheduled T.V. appearances on notable programs like “The Ed Sullivan Show,” but unfortunately became incredibly ill before the appearances could be made; he contracted the measles days before his T.V. debut, which quickly evolved into a severe case of Uremia, which resulted in his death soon after. The Guinness Book of World Records noted that when Robert Earl Hughes passed away he was buried inside of a coffin the size of a piano, with a headstone that told the story of his record title.
9 – Patrick Deuel (1,072 Pounds)
Patrick Deuel is one of the few people on this list who is still alive, which is a rather impressive feat given that he is currently in his mid fifties. A documentary was filmed about Deuel’s life called the “Half Ton Man,” wherein he was coached by the world’s formerly heaviest woman, Rosalie Bradford, on how to change his life for the better and lose his immense amount of weight; at the time of the film’s shooting, he hadn’t left his home in over seven consecutive years, which was obviously impeding him from living life how he imagined.
Eventually Patrick needed medical attention, which was the wakeup call he needed to change his life for the better; a wall in his home was removed in order to extract him from his residence, and he was taken to a South Dakota hospital where he received a Gastric bypass, and a removal of excess skin, fat, and mass. After a year of being placed on a strict diet, Deuel had lost 570 pounds, and (despite still being obese) is finally at a more stable and manageable weight.
8 – Michael Hebranko (1,100 Pounds)
The story of Michael Hebranko is both a tale of success, and a reminder to never be complacent. Michael was at a staggering 906 pounds when he was personally coached by the famous Richard Simmons to try and kick the weight; he dropped down to an impressive 200 pounds over the course of 19 months, both from diet and exercise, and through surgical assistance. Because of Michael’s drastic change in weight, the Guinness Book of World Records recorded his journey as the highest recorded weight loss of all time.
Hebranko was seen as a kind of hero for those who wanted to shed the pounds, and he dedicated his life to sharing proper diet and exercise information with others, so that they would never have to live like he did; he made radio appearances with Howard Stern, and helped out his old friend Richard Simmons with infomercials. Tragedy Struck Michael and he began to feel depressed, and within seven years he had not only returned to his old weight, but he surpassed it by over 200 pounds; he started undergoing emergency surgeries, which helped to remove nearly six hundred pounds, but his poor health eventually took his life in 2013.
7 – Francis John Lang (Michael Walker -1,187 Pounds)
Francis John Lang (also known as Michael Walker) was a man from Gibsonton Florida, who used his weight to advantage when selecting a career; he traveled with the local fairs and carnivals as a visual attraction. John Lang had long since lost the ability to walk, but that made his “show” even more interesting to spectators, who would gawk at him through observation windows that Lang had installed on his mobile home. Francis had to have his bed custom designed in order to support his weight, and needed the help of his co-workers for all of his daily functions.
Walker wasn’t always so heavy, in fact earlier in life he was stationed in Korea as a soldier. After a terrible struggle with prescription drug use, Michael was left was an appetite that seemed to be insatiable. Like Michael Hebranko, Francis John Lang used his situation as a platform to educate others about the dangers of drugs and poor health, but no lesson would be taught harder than his last; he suffered a heart attack that was caused by his inflamed gallbladder, and his declining health eventually cost him his life.
6 – Walter Hudson (1, 197 Pounds)
Walter Hudson is also a Guinness World record holder, but his title belt is for having the largest belt line, or more specifically the largest waist: it was 119 inches at its largest recorded size. Walter’s media presence began when he fell inside of his home on his way back from the restroom; he was unable to get himself off the ground, and required the help of eight rescue workers in order to return him to his bed… talk about some heavy lifting.
It wasn’t easy for Hudson to maintain his size: his daily meals consisted of four baked potatoes and sweet potatoes, four large heads of broccoli, the majority of a cake, 17 liters of soda, a pound of bacon, a dozen eggs, two complete boxes of frozen sausages, eight burgers, an entire loaf of bread, eight large boxes of fries, and two complete chickens. Despite his weight, Walter did have a fiancée named Sandy Cruz, who encouraged him to live a more healthy life; he eventually lost hundreds of pounds of weight before dying from cardiac arrest: his body was removed by the local fire department after removing his wall, and he was buried in a giant coffin that was reinforced with steel.
5 – Robert Butler (1,200 Pounds)
Robert Butler is the most recent person on this list to pass away: he died in 2015 after a series of operations that were essential to keep him alive. Butler said that his weight was the result of depression and an addiction to food: a deadly combination. In order to remover Robert from his home, the local fire department had to expand the entrance of his building, construct a custom designed ramp, and enlist the help of local machine operators, since they needed access to a crane.
Robert Butler lived in a care home for roughly ten years, and doctors simply refused to do the surgeries he needed to get back on his feet: not only were the procedures extremely dangerous, but he had no real way of paying for the procedures; he spent his final months in extreme debt because of the medical bills, but was simply happy to still be alive. Butler described his time in the assisted living facility as horrible, claiming that his bed was broken and that he wasn’t getting the care he deserved… hopefully he found some long needed comfort on the other side.
4 – Carol Yager (1,200 Pounds)
Carol Yager was rumored to have reached an incredible 1600 pounds, which (if true) would have made her the heaviest person to ever live; unfortunately (or fortunately) for her, her weight was only ever confirmed at 1,200 pounds. Yager may not be the heaviest person to ever live, but she was the heaviest woman to ever live, although she claimed to never eat more than perfectly normal quantities of food; she often argued with medical experts who told her that such claims were simply impossible.
Carol claimed that her weight problem was the result of sexual abuse that she suffered at a young age, but she began to lose weight (521 pounds) when she was hospitalized for cellulites, and her calorie intake was controlled to 1200 daily calories; she was unable to stand or walk, and her frequent medical visits would cost her nearly 500 dollars a trip, since she needed the fire station to escort her (that’s one heck of a taxi). Yager passed away in 1994 due to organ failure, and her story was featured on national tabloids and reality shows, which greatly angered her boyfriend and family.
3 – Manuel Uribe (1,316 Pounds)
Manuel Uribe is another man who was unable to leave his bed for several years, but lost a large amount of weight when he was monitored by a team of doctors and nutritionists; the help came his way after he appeared on Mexican television to request assistance in getting his life on track, which birthed a large outpouring of support from the citizens and government of Mexico. A documentary series called “The World’s Heaviest Man” was created about his life and daily struggles, and plans were made to have him removed from his tiny home via crane.
Another T.V. series titled “The World’s Heaviest Man Gets Married” which followed Manuel’s romantic life, but his wife eventually left him because she couldn’t handle his sedentary lifestyle and overall lack of motivation. Uribe found another wife after dropping 593 pounds, and had his ceremony while stuck inside of his bed; it lasted for a few years, but ended only a few years before his death due to cardiac arrhythmias and liver failure. Manuel Uribe had a lot of big plans to give back to the Mexican people who supported him in his time of need, but his death put a halt to all of the foundations that were underway.
2 – Khalid Bin Mohsen Shaari (1,345 Pounds)
Khalid Bin Mohsen Shaari is the heaviest man to live in recent memory: he had the highest body mass index to ever be recorded at a jaw dropping “204.” Most of the success stories that we hear about obese people losing weight is on account of either health concerns or lifestyle changes, but Shaari’s story is a little bit more interesting than that: he was commanded by King Abdullah to be removed from his home, and operated on to reduce his weight, since it created an unhealthy image for his country.
Khalid had been unable to leave his home for two years, but after six months he had dropped over half of his entire body weight, which goes to show you just how much is possible when you have a king on your side. Khalid Bin Mohsen Shaari is still alive today in his mid twenties, which makes him a sort of icon for the people of Saudi Arabia. Khalid is committed to changing his health for the better, and a series of devices have been manufactured to help him be more mobile: a pulley system for his bed, and a specially designed wheelchair.
1 – Jon Brower Minnoch (1,400 Pounds)
Note: Only known photo of him, all others are actually Robert Earl Hughes – misattributed.
Jon Brower Minnoch is indisputably the largest man to ever live; his exact size is beyond estimate because at his time of death he was too large to be weighed on a scale, as he would crush any device that he stood on. Minnoch was nearly 300 pounds by the time he was just 12 years old, and his size only grew as he got older. Jon first started being hospitalized for his health when he was 36 years old, which is ironically also the year that he met his wife, Jeannette; the two set a world record for the largest weight difference between a married couple (she was only 110 pounds).
Although it raises the question of how, Jon Brower Minnoch did manage to have two children with his wife, but he knew that his life would be difficult after he was diagnosed with Edema: which causes the body to accumulate and retain large amounts of extracellular fluid; roughly 900 pounds of his 1400 pound mass consisted of this fluid. When Jon was sent to the hospital for emergency treatment, it took a dozen firemen, a custom stretcher, and a ferryboat to transport him; he lost roughly 924 pounds over sixteen months, but the weight returned quickly because of his disease… he died 23 months later.