Doctors Are In Awe Of The Boy Who Won’t Stop Growing

Broc Brown has had an interesting life. The reason his life has been so interesting is because of his abnormal height. This kid is tall. Really tall. Broc’s height has caused him to suffer from chronic pain and constant ridicule. His family has also had to use their savings to pay for special clothes and furniture for Broc.

After a few public appearances, Broc’s life completely changed. Keep reading to find out just how tall Broc has grown to be, and if his growth could impact his lifespan.

He Was an Average Weight and Height at Birth

Broc-Brown-baby-Daily-Mail
Photo Credit: Daily Mail
Photo Credit: Daily Mail

When Broc Brown was born, he seemed like an average healthy baby. At birth, he weighed just under eight pounds, and he measured 22 inches long. His mother, Darci Moss Elliot, never suspected that there was anything abnormal about her son.

As Broc began to grow, it became apparent that he was different from other children. After Darci brought him home from the hospital, she realized that he was growing and that he was growing quickly.

Incredible Growth Spurts That Never Stopped

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Photo Credit: Barcroft TV
Photo Credit: Barcroft TV

Broc was quickly outgrowing all of the onesies and baby clothes that his parents had bought for him. He was as happy and as energetic as most other kids his age, but he seemed to be maturing ahead of his peers.

It’s normal for children to experience growth spurts, but it seemed like Broc’s whole life was one long period of growth. When it came time for Broc to enter kindergarten, someone made an observation that would change the course of his life.

He Towered Over Other Kindergarteners

Broc-Brown-gigantism-The-Sun
Photo Credit: The Sun
Photo Credit: The Sun

A lot of parents feel like their children grow up way too quickly, but Darci actually felt like her son was growing at a much faster rate than was normal. On Broc’s first day of kindergarten, Darci noticed that her son was way taller than his classmates. Broc was already 5 foot 2 inches tall.

Most five-year-old boys in America are around 3 foot 6 inches at that age, and when he stood next to his classmates, he towered over them.

By First Grade, He Was As Tall As An Adult

Broc-Brown-toddler-The-Sun
Photo Credit: The Sun
Photo Credit: The Sun

By the time he got to first grade, Broc was amazingly the same height as his mother. A first, Darci was just curious about her son’s extraordinary stature. But it wasn’t very long until she began to feel genuinely worried.

Broc’s aunt Stacy Snyder said, “When he was small, he couldn’t ride a bike, but when you’re trying to teach a 6-year-old who’s the same size as you, it’s hard. You can’t stabilize him.”

His Mother Still Treated Him Like A Little Kid

Broc-Brown-family-Lifebuzz
Photo Credit: LIfebuzz
Photo Credit: LIfebuzz

Broc wasn’t able to play in the same way that other kids were able to play. Darci also noticed that it was difficult for Broc to complete everyday tasks.

Darci said, “When you have a five-year-old who has hurt themselves and they come running at you, you pick them up. I would carry him around when he was half the size of me so I have a lot of back problems.”

They Scheduled A Doctor Visit To Get An Answer

Broc-Brown-gentle-giant-WILX
Photo Credit: WILX
Photo Credit: WILX

Darci suspected that Broc’s rapid growth may be due to something more menacing than your average run-of-the-mill growth spurt. Concerned for her son’s well-being, she decided to take him to their family doctor for a thorough checkup.

One doctor referred Broc to another doctor who did a whole bunch of tests. Once the results of the tests came back, Broc and his family would have some more answers about Broc’s astonishing size.

A Rare Diagnosis Of Cerebral Gigantism

Broc-Brown-tallest-teen-Daily-Mail-2-1-24867
Photo Credit: Daily Mail
Photo Credit: Daily Mail

When Broc was five years old, doctors were able to give him a diagnosis. He has a rare condition that affects one in every 15,000 people. That condition is called Sotos Syndrome which is also known as “cerebral gigantism.”

After receiving the diagnosis, Broc’s mother said, “There’s nothing that can stop him from growing – I don’t know if he will ever stop.” This made Darci worry about her son’s future.

Other Things To Think About

Broc-Brown-tall-Morning-News-USA
Photo Credit: Daily Mail
Photo Credit: Daily Mail

When Broc’s family first found out about the Sotos Syndrome diagnosis, they didn’t know much about it. At first, Darci just thought that it meant her son was a fast grower than the other children in his class. Unfortunately, there are some other, more dire, effects of Sotos Syndrome.

Doctors told Broc’s family that Broc would not likely live past his teenage years. Doctors also explained that currently, there aren’t any treatment options for Sotos Syndrome.

How Sotos Syndrome Would Affect His Life

Broc-Brown-tallest-teen-mother-Daily-Record-44121 (1)
Photo Credit: Daily Record
Photo Credit: Daily Record

People born with Sotos Syndrome experience rapid and increased growth throughout their lifetime. They very quickly outgrow their older siblings and even their parents from a young age.

Usually, children with this condition grow rapidly until they reach adulthood. At that point, they usually end up being the same height as most other people their age. But this wasn’t the case with Broc. He didn’t exactly fit the Sotos Syndrome description.

Treading the Teen Years

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Photo Credit: Facebook
Photo Credit: Facebook

While it’s normal for children to experience growth spurts during puberty, Broc experienced a massive growth spurt and grew to be taller than all of his classmates. But it didn’t stop there. Broc’s growth spurt continued past middle school into high school.

However, he was a typical teenage boy. Broc liked to spend time with his friends, go fishing, and play outside. But by age fourteen, Broc was incredibly already six feet tall.

Growing Quicker Than Most People With Sotos Syndrome

Broc-Brown-family-Daily-Mail
Photo Credit: Daily Mail
Photo Credit: Daily Mail

The doctors who were following Broc’s condition noticed that he was growing to be taller than most people with Sotos Syndrome. This discovery made them even more concerned about his overall health.

While at first, the doctors speculated that Broc wouldn’t make it into early adulthood, now they were saying that sadly, he probably wouldn’t make it to age 15. His growth rate was just too much for any human body to sustain.

He Experiences A Lot Of Physical Pain

Broc-Brown-Michigan-family-Daily-Mail
Photo Credit: Daily Mail
Photo Credit: Daily Mail

Extreme growth can be really difficult on the human heart. Broc was also suffering from an incredibly strained spine, ADHD, intermittent explosive disorder, and some learning disabilities.

On top of all that, Broc was born with only one kidney, so his body can’t properly process painkillers. He can’t even take medication to make his daily pain more bearable. Broc said, “It kind of feels like a big tennis racket has gone through my back. I do stuff to stop it hurting and it makes me feel like there’s a needle gone through it – it’s hard to deal with.”

He Needs Plenty of Rest for his Ever-Growing Body

Broc-Brown-The-Telegraph
Photo Credit: The Telegraph
Photo Credit: The Telegraph

Because Broc can’t take medications like Tylenol or Advil, his family has attempted to make his existence more comfortable. Broc’s family ordered him a custom-made bed to fit his large frame. He also has a special chair that cost his family around $1,000.

Broc has to sleep up to 16 hours a day during growth spurts. He has no energy to put towards being awake because his body is using all of its stored energy to continue growing.

“A Heart As Big As His Body”

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Photo Credit: cas.sk
Photo Credit: cas.sk

Broc has been able to stay positive even though his daily life is a struggle. His aunt Stacy Snyder said, he “takes on his condition day by day with a smile on his face.” His mother added, “Overall he is a big softie, his heart is as big as his body.”

Broc is an eternal optimist, and he’s come to terms with the fact that his life may be shorter than most people’s. Broc said, “I just wish the doctors could do something to help my pain.”

Ready To Experience Life

Broc-Brown-Michigan-The-Sun
Photo Credit: The Sun
Photo Credit: The Sun

Broc has trouble just living life every day because of his condition. It’s hard for Broc to stand for long periods of time. It’s also hard for him to fit in places like cars, restaurant booths, movie theatres, and airplanes.

Luckily, Broc was actually able to do some traveling recently. He was given an opportunity that would take him miles away from his home and change his life forever. As you can imagine, he was elated to take the trip.

He Held a Guinness World Record

Broc-Brown-with-friends-The-Sun-99589
Photo Credit: The Sun
Photo Credit: The Sun

Broc grew up in Jackson, Michigan, and he was something of a local celebrity in his home state. He came from a small town of about 30,000 people, but Broc’s influence was so huge that news of his size eventually went nationwide.

Broc held the Guinness World Record for being the world’s tallest teenager until 2015. That was the year that he turned 20. He was no longer a teenager, so he could no longer hold the title.

He Met Other Kids With His Syndrome

Broc-Brown-tallest-teen-Daily-Mail-21816
Photo Credit: Daily Mail
Photo Credit: Daily Mail

In 2016, Broc participated in a TLC documentary called “Tallest Teens.” The production followed teenagers who had far exceeded their peers in the growth department.

Through his experience with Tallest Teens, Broc was able to meet other people his age with Sotos Syndrome. This helped Broc to understand that he wasn’t alone and he didn’t have to suffer by himself. Broc didn’t know it yet, but he was about to have another eye-opening experience.

He Could Become the Tallest Man in the World

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Photo Credit: Pinterest
Photo Credit: Pinterest

As Broc grew older, his growth rate didn’t slow down. When he turned 19 years old, he was 7 foot 8 inches tall. Every year, he grows another astonishing 6 inches.

If Broc continues to grow at this rate, he could become the tallest man in the world. The American public has watched Broc’s journey through the TLC documentary and they were now invested in his health and his story.

A Financial Hurdle For Broc’s Family

Broc-Brown-sotos-syndrome-The-Sun
Photo Credit: The Sun
Photo Credit: The Sun

Aside from medical bills, Broc’s family was also responsible for clothing this growing boy. Broc would grow out of his entire wardrobe every year, plus he had to order special (often expensive) clothes because he didn’t fit into traditional sizes.

Also, all of the special furniture that Broc needs is a huge expense for his family. A lot of the furniture Broc uses has to be custom-made. All of it was worth it to help him be more comfortable and confident.

A Brave Appearance

Broc-Brown-Maury-YouTube
Photo Credit: YouTube
Photo Credit: YouTube

Broc Brown continued to appear on television after the TLC documentary aired. In 2016, he appeared in a special anti-bullying episode of The Maury Show. Broc and his mother were both featured on the show. They discussed Broc’s experience with being bullying because of his physical differences.

After appearing on the show, Broc was met with incredible support. At this point, he had no idea about the kind of impact his honesty would have on other people.

Broc Received Loads Of Support

Team-Broc-Brown-Facebook
Photo Credit: Facebook
Photo Credit: Facebook

What Broc said on The Maury Show had a huge impact on audiences around the country. Almost everybody in America has been bullied in some form or another at one point in their lives. People who were touched by what Broc said on the show contacted him to share messages of support.

Broc also received messages from other children who had been affected by Sotos Syndrome. His family was so happy to have received all of those encouraging messages, but they were still worried about how they were going to pay for all of Broc’s medical care.

Support From the Community

Broc-Brown-benefit-Michigan-Facebook
Photo Credit: Facebook
Photo Credit: Facebook

Broc’s family did everything they could to support Broc, but sometimes they needed a little bit of help on the financial end of things. They decided to set up “The Support Page for Broc D Brown” on Facebook. After the TLC documentary was released, their Facebook page accumulated more than 15,000 likes.

Their Michigan community also ran several benefits for the Brown family and they were able to raise over $10,000 for Broc’s medical care.

He Was Taller Than The NBA Players!

Broc-Brown-basketball-Click-on-Detroit
Photo Credit: Click on Detroit
Photo Credit: Click on Detroit

Broc and his family were truly overwhelmed by all of the support. Through Broc’s Facebook page, an anonymous supporter donated tickets to a Detroit Pistons basketball game. Broc got to meet some of the players and forget about his condition for a little while. He was only a little bit taller than most of the basketball players.

While the family was grateful for all of the clothing donations, Darci noted that Broc grew out of all of those clothes within a year.

He Was Grateful For All Of The Donations

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Photo Credit: New.com.au
Photo Credit: New.com.au

Broc’s family was so thankful for everything people had done to help them, but they were still worried about Broc’s future. Broc wasn’t as worried as his parents were, and always maintained a positive attitude. He was mostly just excited about all of the new clothes he was getting.

Broc’s aunt Stacy Snyder said that Broc never complains about his condition or his situation. He’s just super thankful for the generous giant Nike sneakers donations.

A Footwear Company Help Him Out Big Time

Broc-Brown-new-shoes-WLNS
Photo Credit: WLNS
Photo Credit: WLNS

The California-based company Feetz heard about Broc’s story, and they decided to use 3-D printing technology to make shoes especially for Broc’s giant feet.

When Broc received his first pair of the Feetz shoes, he said, “Heck, I don’t like them. I love them. Thank you!” These wonderful donations kept Broc distracted from his genetic condition, but he was about to receive some news from his doctor that would really throw him for a loop.

Another First

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Photo Credit: Pinterest
Photo Credit: Pinterest

Recently, Broc’s family arranged for him to board a special plane so that he could visit a genetic specialist in Arkansas. He flew over 1,000-miles to meet Dr. Bradley Schaefer of Arkansas Children’s Hospital, who was studying Sotos Syndrome.

Dr. Schaefer said that he wasn’t sure if he would be able to help fix Broc’s chronic spinal pain, but he had some other news that Broc would definitely want to hear.

Broc Receives Positive News from a Specialist

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Photo Credit: Facebook
Photo Credit: Facebook

While Broc had originally been told that he wouldn’t make it to early adulthood, Dr. Schaefer gave Broc a different prognosis. He acknowledged that Broc had already proven most of his doctors wrong as far as life expectancy was concerned. Dr. Schaefer told Broc that he was no longer at risk of living a shortened life.

“Broc is easily the tallest man I have ever seen,” said Dr. Schaefer “Unfortunately, he will always have to deal with some form of pain, but I believe that he will now have a regular lifespan.”

The Best Thing

Broc-Brown-tallest-man-The-Sun-61732
Photo Credit: The Sun
Photo Credit: The Sun

Broc’s family was obviously overjoyed to hear this news. Broc said, “It’s the best thing I could have heard. I’m so happy that I will live for a long time.” Darci cried when Dr. Schaefer told her that Broc would have a normal lifespan.

Doctors still aren’t sure if Broc will stop growing once he hits adulthood, or if he’ll continue to grow. Whatever the future holds, Broc is just glad that he’ll be around to experience it.

A Huge Inspiration

Broc-Brown-sotos-syndrome-Daily-Mail
Photo Credit: Daily Mail
Photo Credit: Daily Mail

“I hopefully want to work for a sporting goods store so something like that, a cashier or something,” Brown has admirably stated. “I just want to have my own job.” Along with that, Brown and his mother are looking forward to spending a long future together.

For her part, his mother, Darci, doesn’t want to push him to do anything outside of his comfort zone. “I just hope he has a good life and is happy with everything he ever does,” the loving mother wishes for her beloved son.

Looking to the Future

Sultan-Kosen-Guinness-World-Records
Photo Credit: Guinness World Records
Photo Credit: Guinness World Records

The world’s current tallest man is a man by the name of Sultan Kosen who lives in Turkey. Sultan is currently 8 feet and 2 inches tall. At 7 feet and 8 inches tall as of 2019, if Broc keeps growing at his current rate, he’ll surpass Sultan’s height and usurp the title of World’s Tallest Man.

Now that Broc knows he has a future, he’s planning to have a bright and successful one, whether or not he’s still setting world records.

Andre Was Already 6’3″ By Age 12

andre the giant as a young boy
Twitter/therock
Twitter/therock

At 12-years-old, Andre Rousimoff was 6’3″ and over 240 pounds. Taking the bus to school was not an option. He never fit. The only kind of vehicle he did fit in was a pick-up truck. Luckily enough his neighbor, Samuel Beckett, had just what he needed and was friends with his dad.

Beckett, no stranger to fame himself, was a renowned playwright. His most famous work is Waiting for Godot. On the car rides to school, however, Beckett and Roussimoff didn’t talk about the stage or the ring. They conversed about cricket, their one common interest. The experience was so strange for Beckett he ended up writing a play about it!

He Was Too Large To Enlist In The Army

aandre the giant standing next to normal size man

At 19-years-old Andre was given a draft notice by the French Peace Time Army but was unable to enlist. Fate had other plans for the Giant and the army did not have any shoes that would fit him. He was also too long to fit in French bunks and too large to hide in trenches.

Andre’s failure to enlist allowed him to focus on wrestling. He trained in Paris at night and worked as a mover during the day. In 1963 he made his debut as a professional in the United Kingdom. Ten-years-later he made his WWE debut.

He Learned About His Growth Disorder While In Japan

andre the giant stepping over ropes into WWE ring
Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images

In 1970 Andre Roussimoff left the United Kingdom to wrestle in Japan for International Wrestling Enterprise. It was here he learned of his acromegaly. The adult form of gigantism, acromegaly affects the size of a person’s hands, feet, and face as human growth hormone is overproduced. The affliction caused Andre great bodily pain, but also gave him a massive advantage in the ring. Because of this, he refused to get corrective surgery.

Fighting in tag team and individual tournaments, “Monster Roussimoff” was one of the best. Soon after his debut, he was named tag team champion alongside Michael Nador. Three years later the “Monster” would become the “Giant” in the United States.

Returning Home At 19 Andre’s Parents Didn’t Recognize Him

andre the giant standing with group of women
Photo Credit: Universal/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Universal/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

When Andre Rousinmoff returned home at 19-years-old after five years away his parents didn’t recognize him. Because of his acromegaly, Andre grew to over seven feet tall and looked nothing like his former self. His parents admitted after they had seen him wrestle on TV as Jean Ferre without realizing it was their son.

The reunion, as told by Sports Illustrated in 1981, depicted Andre as lighthearted about the situation. Knowing his parents wouldn’t recognize him, he asked them a number of questions about his Rolls Royce until his father finally saw his son’s “twinkling eyes.”

Too Large For The World

andre taking two seats on plane
Photo credit: HBO / Ringer Films / “André the Giant” screengrab
Photo credit: HBO / Ringer Films / “André the Giant” screengrab

Many of the people closest to Andre say that despite his gargantuan size and stage persona, he was very emotionally sensitive. In HBO’s documentary André the Giant, Hulk Hogan describes incidents where his sheer size caused embarrassing problems, including having to urinate into buckets on flights when he couldn’t get out of his seat to reach the restroom.

In the same documentary, Andre revealed that “It’s difficult everywhere I go. They don’t have anything for big people. They’ve got everything for blind people, for crippled people, for some other people but not for big people. So, we have to fit in there and it’s not too easy all the time.”

He Almost Drowned Two Men

andre throwing a wrestler in the ring
Photo credit: Bettmann / Contributor
Photo credit: Bettmann / Contributor

Andre the Giant director Jason Hehir shared with TheWrap a shocking story that had to be cut from the movie for time. Ric Flair, Andre, Dusty Rhodes and Blackjack Mulligan were together at a southern beach town. During an evening of drinking, Mulligan punched Andre in the face.

The giant grabbed Mulligan and Rhodes, dragged them both outside, and began to drown them both in the surf. Luckily for the two men, Ric Flair came to their rescue and convinced Andre to return inside. He did and started drinking again as if nothing had happened.

He Was The First Member Of The WWE Hall Of Fame

hulk hogan wwe hall fo fame
Photo Credit: Chris Farina/Corbis via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Chris Farina/Corbis via Getty Images

After his death in 1993, the WWE honored the life of Andre the Giant by creating the WWE Hall of Fame. Andre was the league’s only inductee that inaugural year and no ceremony was held. His induction took place posthumously on an episode of Monday Night Raw.

The next year WWE held their first induction ceremony. During the event, the commentator discussed Andre the Giant’s induction. Never intended to air on television, a condensed version was produced in 2015 for the WWE Network. It features plenty of footage of Andre’s signature Sitdown Splash and Double Underhook Suplex.

His Signature Black Singlet Hid A Back Brace

andre the giant wearing black singlet
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Asher/ Getty Images
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Asher/ Getty Images

Destroyed physically by acromegaly and years of wrestling, Andre the Giant underwent spinal surgery in 1986. To keep wrestling he needed to wear a back brace to support his figure. He hid the extra support under his iconic black singlet, which severely limited his mobility in the ring.

Ironically, some of Andre’s most famous fights were during this late-career period. His Title winning match against Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania III is the most famous. If you watch the match closely you can see how limited Andre was in his movement and how much he relied on basic fighting moves instead of the flashier ones from his younger days.

His WWE Title Didn’t Count

andre the giant fighting hulk hogan
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Asher/ Getty Images
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Asher/ Getty Images

In 1988 Andre the Giant fought Hulk Hogan for the World Championship title and won. Unfortunately, the fight was rigged by “evil” rev Earn Hebner. Andre was forced to give the title belt back after just one minute. The title was left vacated and Andre never had another fair shot at it.

The circus that was Wrestlemania III, however, did attract the largest audience in the history of the sport. Bolstered by Andre’s gimmicky title match, 33 million people tuned into NBC on February 4 to watch in shock and awe.

He Farted On Opponents In The Ring

jake the snake
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Asher/ Getty Images
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Asher/ Getty Images

Andre the Giant, like most men, loved a good fart joke while he was alive. In one match against Jake “the Snake” Roberts, the Giants sat on the Snake’s face and let it rip. Roberts said after that the wind didn’t break for at least 30 seconds, adding, “Giant’s farts are for extremely long periods of time.”

Farting in the ring wasn’t the only way Andre would mess with his opponents. He enjoyed stepping on their hair if it was long. His greatest trick, though, was to wring the sweat from his singlet onto their face.

He Could Drink More Than 7,000 Calories In A Day

cases of beer
Photo Credit: Brian Brainerd/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Brian Brainerd/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Olympic powerlifter Terry Todd used to drink with Andre the Giant. According to his story, he learned early on not to match drinks with the famed wrestler. Todd witnessed the Giant regularly consume more than 7,000 calories of alcohol each day.

In 1981, Todd recalled that on a typical day Andre the Giant would drink an entire case of beer. He would wash that down with two full bottles of wine. For dessert, Andre would throw back up to eight shots of brandy. Once the time came for his second dessert, the Giant would consume at least six mixed drinks.

Andre The Giant Wasn’t An Alcoholic, He Was Just In Severe Pain

andre the giant in blue jacket and pink shirt
Photo Credit: Russell Turiak/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Russell Turiak/Getty Images

Suffering from acromegaly didn’t give Andre the Giant the luxury of living his life without pain. His body never stopped growing. Carrying so much extra weight on his back, Andre was always in incredible pain. Doctors performed several surgeries but never knew what pain medication to prescribe because of his size.

To deal with the pain, Andre the Giant drank. A lot. It was the only way he could feel comfortable. Incredibly, he rarely actually got drunk. On the set of The Princess Bride, he was never late, never slurred his speech, and never missed a line.

Trash Can-Sized Appetite For Booze

cans of beer
Photo credit: Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Photo credit: Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post/Getty Images

As mentioned, Andre had a supernatural talent for consuming massive quantities of booze. During Andre’s tour of Amarillo, Texas, in the 70s, young wrestler Ted DiBiase was tasked with keeping the giant happy. They went out to a bar for drinks.

DiBiase later told CBS Sports that a waitress approached their table and asked what they’d like. “Andre asked her if she had a big trash can,” DiBiase recalled. “She said ‘Yeah, we got a bunch of ’em.’ He said ‘Empty a trash can and fill it with beer and ice.’ And she looked at me like, ‘He can’t be serious.'” She did it anyway, bringing two or three cases of beer in a trash can.

In 1989 He Was Named “Most Embarrassing Wrestler”

the black demon wrestler
Photo Credit: David McNew/Getty Images
Photo Credit: David McNew/Getty Images

By the end of his WWE career, Andre the Giant had gained just about every achievement possible. His awards shelf was finally complete in 1989 when Wrestling Observers Newsletter named him the “Most Embarrassing Wrestler.” The award wasn’t given for anything embarrassing the Giant did. He received the honor for how he embarrassed his opponents.

One of his biggest embarrassments came against Demon. Before a match, Andre was signing autographs ringside for children. Demon attacked him out of nowhere. Andre grabbed him by the mask and threw him across the ring. Demon frantically grabbed a towel to cover his face and ran off.

Andre Died In Paris After Attending His Father’s Funeral

andre walking through crowd of fans
Photo Credit: Erin Combs/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Erin Combs/Toronto Star via Getty Images

In 1993, Andre the Giant received a call from Paris informing him about his father’s declining health. At the time, Andre’s health was declining just as rapidly. Shortly after attending his father’s funeral, Andre the Giant went to sleep in his hotel bed and never woke up. He was 46-years-old.

The official cause of death was congestive heart failure. After years of unbearable pain and heavy drinking, the Giant’s heart gave out on him. Choosing to be cremated after death, Andre’s ashes were just as big he was. His final weigh in, for the record, was 17 pounds.

Final Resting Place

wrestlers attending ander's funeral
Photo credit: anticenaguy network/YouTube
Photo credit: anticenaguy network/YouTube

Although Andre’s family had planned to bury him in Paris, near his recently-deceased father. However, the wrestler’s final will explicitly stated that he wanted to be cremated. According to some accounts, it took the family two weeks to find a cremation facility large enough to manage his size. Although they held a funeral for Andre in Paris, his family respected these wishes and returned his ashes to the United States.

He is buried in a garden at his former home in Ellerbe, North Carolina. His one beneficiary was daughter Robin.

The Redskins Wanted Him

washington redskins football team
Photo credit: Nate Fine/Getty Images
Photo credit: Nate Fine/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins were having a tough time with their defensive line in 1975, so they turned to one of the largest athletes in the world: Andre. The wrestler was offered a chance to try out for the team!

The team even called the World Wide Wrestling Federation’s offices to get permission and held a press conference in Washington, D.C. Although Andre and Vincent McMahon both attended the conference, the wrestler never did try out for the team. Instead, Andre clinched the WWE Championship that year.

How The Princess Bride Was Cast

princess bride
Photo credit: Erin Combs/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Photo credit: Erin Combs/Toronto Star via Getty Images

An entire generation of non-wrestling fans adores Andre the Giant for his previously mentioned work in the cult classic 1987 film The Princess Bride. He played the lovable giant Fezzik in the movie. But initially, the film’s producers believed they should look for a basketball player to fit the role.

In TheWrap, casting director Jane Jenkins disclosed the following about the scouting process: “So this Fezzik character, this giant, what are we talking about? Am I looking for a basketball player?” She asked the original book’s author. “Oh no, I want a giant like André the Giant,” was the answer she received.

Who Else Could Have Filled Those Shoes?

princess bride movie poster
Photo credit: Movie Poster Image Art/Getty Images
Photo credit: Movie Poster Image Art/Getty Images

While trying to locate a good giant in The Princess Bride, casting director Jane Jenkins says that she scoped out every tall person she passed while on the streets in Los Angeles. She thought to herself that anyone who could fit through a doorway was well too short.

There were several other contenders, but producers really wanted Andre. Unfortunately, he was booked for a multi-million dollar wrestling match in Japan while they were holding rehearsals. Fate intervened, however; his match was canceled and Andre made it to meet Jenkins and the other casting staff in Paris.

Giant Gas

princess bride cast at reunion red carpet
Photo credit: Dave Kotinsky/WireImage
Photo credit: Dave Kotinsky/WireImage

As mentioned previously, Andre the Giant loved to fart. This hobby carried over from his wrestling days and appeared during his acting career as well. On the 30th anniversary reunion for the surviving cast of The Princess Bride, co-star Cary Elwes had this story to share with fans via ABC:

On the first day of filming, the cast was so comfortable together already that Andre “let out a 16 second fart and brought production to a standstill. It could be heard three counties away. “Nobody said anything except Rob [Reiner], who said ‘Are you OK, André?’ and André replied, ‘I am now boss.’ He was comfortable enough to do that!”

Andre And Ric Flair Drained A Plane Of Its Vodka Stock

ric flair flexing arm
Image source: Don Arnold / WireImage / Getty
Image source: Don Arnold / WireImage / Getty

Andre’s wrestling associates have some colorful, and seemingly endless, tales of his drinking habits. In his autobiography To Be the Man, Ric Flair wrote about a time the two traveled to Japan from Chicago.

As Flair recounts the story, “I was with him one night at the Downtowner in Charlotte. In 1975, he drank 106 beers. And Frank Valois, his manager at that time, drank 56….. Hey, I’ve been on a plane, on a 747 with him going to Tokyo out of Chicago, on No. 4 on Northwest. We drank every bottle of vodka on the plane.”

You Might Guess That He Had Enormous Fingers

andre the giant and large hands
Twitter/AdnanSamiLive
Twitter/AdnanSamiLive

Of course, Andre needed fingers to match the giant body he grew into. His were supposedly so large that playing piano was out of the question, as they would each have spanned three keys.

Andre’s rings were so huge that entire silver dollars could fit into the holes where his fingers would go. And he was known to use his large fingers against his opponents in the ring. According to a 2011 interview with Hulk Hogan, Andre would sometimes insert one of those big thumbs into a rival’s bum during a match.

He Scared Guard Dogs

andre the giant while wrestling
Photo Credit: Jeff Goode/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Jeff Goode/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Maxing out at over seven feet tall and 500 pounds, not many people have been more intimidating than Andre the Giant. Roger Sembazzia remembers one occasion when his trained guard dogs ran for cover at the sight of Andre.

Speaking with Sports Illustrated, Andre laughed, “these two dogs were supposed to be so mean… the dog got one look at me and ran the other way as fast as could go.” A towering inferno of a man, it’s not hard to blame the dogs. Andre wasn’t a threat in real life, though, he was a legendary drinker.

Andre Would Move Friends’ Cars As A Prank

andre holding up car
Photo Credit: Express Newspapers/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Express Newspapers/Getty Images

Always a jokester, one of Andre the Giant’s favorite pranks was to move friends’ cars when they weren’t looking. He was not getting in the car and driving away. Andre would pick up the vehicle and carry it to a new location. It was his way of getting back at friends who owned cars he could never fit it.

Where exactly would Andre the Giant leave the cars? It depended on how much fun he wanted to have. Sometimes he would only turn the vehicle around. Other more devious times he would place the car in small spaces between lamp posts and buildings.

Andre Had A Literal Miracle Child

andre the giant's daughter Robin Roussimoff
Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Suffering from acromegaly meant Andre the Giant should have been sterile. Living to defy the odds, Andre had a daughter in 1979. When he died, Robin Christensen Rousimoff inherited his entire estate. When he was alive, Andre never got to know his daughter since he committed to living a life on the road.

The one time Robin was supposed to spend time with her father she backed out. Just 10-years-old, she was invited to meet Andre on his ranch in North Carolina. Wary about hanging out with a literal giant she didn’t know, Robin never ended up going. It was the last chance she would have to get to know him.

QVC Was His Not-So-Secret Addiction

woman in front of qvc logo
Photo Credit: Jerritt Clark/WireImage via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Jerritt Clark/WireImage via Getty Images

One of Andre the Giant’s greatest pleasures in life was buying stuff from QVC. Spending more time in North Carolina near the end of his life, Andre developed an addiction to the television shopping network. Shopping at home, Andre never had to worry about causing a scene in public, which he loathed.

He would reportedly spend hours in his custom-made recliners buying useless things from QVC. There was nothing he loved more than spending money, especially on family and friends.

Andre Picked Up The Terminator For Buying Him A Meal

arnold-schwarzenegger posing shirtless
Photo Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Always preferring to give rather than take, Andre the Giant became upset after dinner with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Wilt Chamberlain. Late in the evening Arnold snuck off and paid for the meal. Walking back to their cars after, Andre decided to get revenge outside.

When they got to Arnold’s car, Andre picked Arnold up off the ground and placed him on his car. Towering more than a foot over Arnold, Andre had no problem pulling this move off! There is no report of whether he said, “I’ll be back” as he walked away.

After Passing Out Drunk A Hotel Put A Velvet Rope Around Him

cary-elwes at andre the giant documentary
Photo Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO
Photo Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO

After the first script read-through of The Princess Bride, Andre the Giant had too much drink and passed out in his hotel lobby. The story, recounted by co-star Cary Elwes, turned out to be the actors first of many drinking adventures with Andre.

Elwes says Andre the Giant’s drink of choice was “the American.” The cocktail is various liquors mixed in a pitcher. Andre would consume a number of these in one sitting. The night in question, he had a few too many and passed out. Unable to move the 550-pound star the hotel staff surrounded him with a velvet rope so other patrons wouldn’t trip over him.

A Life Story Perfect For Comic Books

andre the giant, donald trump, hulk hogan
Photo credit: Russell Turiak/Getty Images
Photo credit: Russell Turiak/Getty Images

The public’s interest in Andre the Giant hasn’t waned in the years since his death. His incredible life inspired at least two graphic novels. Andre The Giant: Closer To Heaven, by Brandon Easton, was released in 2016. And Andre the Giant: Life and Legend (Box Brown) was first published in 2014.

Box Brown wrote that a graphic novel was a wonderful vehicle for a story as unusual as Andre’s: “When working on Andre’s story I was really trying to be careful. I tried to put myself in Andre’s shoes, which is difficult given the extraordinary nature of his life.”

He Always Wanted To See A Play

andre the giant
Photo Credits: Bettmann/Getty Images
Photo Credits: Bettmann/Getty Images

Out of all the things that Andre got to do in his life, there was nothing that he never actually got to do. Believe it or not, Andre had always wanted to see a play on Broadway.

The reason that he never did was that he was a considerate person. He didn’t want to block anybody else’s view from seeing the show because of his size. That shows what a friendly and thoughtful person he was if he wasn’t able to convenience anyone to check something off of his bucket list.