The world’s tallest woman dies in China at the age of 39. died in eastern China. Yao Defen died on Nov. 13 at her home in the country’s eastern province of Anhui. Guinness World Records in January 2010 had certified her as the world’s tallest living woman at 7 feet and 7 inches.
Reports in China did not give the cause of death but said Yao suffered from gigantism, with a tumor on her pituitary gland disrupting her levels of growth hormone. A government official in her county who gave only his surname, Liu, confirmed Yao’s death on Wednesday.
Defen was a basketball player when she was young and was 6 foot, 7 inches tall at the age of 15. She was expected to have a bright career as a basketball player, but her huge body structure strained her lungs and heart, the Shanghaiist reported. She had joined the circus for a while, but the extreme mockery she faced there, forced her to quit in 2004.
In a Chinese-language video from three years ago, Yao expressed anguish at her unusual height.
“I am very unhappy. Why am I this tall?” she said from her bed. “If I were not this tall, others would not look at me like this.”
The morning Yao passed away, the wails of her mother sent neighbors running to their home, Shanghaiist reported, quoting local media.
“I saw Yao lying on the bed but she was not breathing,” one neighbor said. “Her sisters rushed back home too, and soon afterward the doctor announced she had passed away.”