THE former “world’s tallest man” has told how he is battling a life-threatening condition in a London care home.
The Sun famously revealed in 2002 how 7ft 7.5ins Hussein Bisad was living in a cramped semi in Neasden, North London.
His story made headlines globally but he was forced to hand over the title of world’s tallest man to 8ft 2.8ins Sultan Kösen.
Hussein, now 46, has revealed how he’s life has been put on hold for five years after suffering a string of health problems.
The Somalian refugee has moved into a care home in Brent and needs dialysis three times a day.
Medics believe he has a condition called pituitary gigantism, which causes him to produce more growth hormones than normal.
Hussein told My London: “I don’t like being this tall. It’s too many problems, you’re a different person.
“Everyone else is normal and I’m different. Everyone can see me, people ask me sometimes why I’m so tall, I ask why I’m so tall. I know it’s Allah.
“My friends would say Hussein is a giant and make jokes about my height.”
Hussein was born in Somalia and was a “normal” height up until he entered Year 2 in school.
A staggering growth spurt saw him shoot up so much his teacher was convinced he was pulling a fast one.
He joked: “My headteacher said ‘Are you sure you’re Hussein?’ He said ‘go home and bring your father’.
“I went back home and my dad took me back to the school.
“I was around six to seven years old.I had a bigger chair, bigger desk, everything changed.”
By age 13, Hussein towered above his parents and 5ft 5ins twin sister and needed a special desk and chair in the classroom.
In 2002 after he moved to the UK, Hussein became a sensation after self-proclaiming he was the world’s tallest man at a whopping height of 7ft 9ins.
His beaming face appeared on the front page of The Sun as he towered over a phonebox in a specially-made suit.
At the time, Hussein told how he “enjoyed” being tall but said he wasn’t a fan of constantly banging his head.
But when the Guinness World Records got wind of his tall tale, Hussein was found to measure in at 7ft 7.5ins – making him the second tallest man in the world at the time.
What is pituitary gigantism?
Gigantism – also known as acromegaly – is a rare condition where the body produces too much growth hormone, causing body tissues and bones to grow more quickly.
This leads to abnormally large hands and feet, and a wide range of other symptoms.
It is usually diagnosed in adults aged 30 to 50, but it can affect people of any age.
The condition can be successfully treated if caught early otherwise patients are more at risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Gigantism runs in families but is usually not inherited.
- Swollen hands or feet
- Tiredness and difficulty sleeping
- Gradual changes in facial features – including brow and nose getting larger and teeth becoming spaced-out
- Numbness and weakness in the hands
He was stripped of his title and instead given the record for the largest hands – only to be beaten by Turkish farmer Sultan for a second time in 2011.
Despite the fame his height has brought him, Hussein has opened up about the everyday struggles it causes.
He said he needs his size 22 shoes to be specially exported from abroad and his custom clothing comes in at around £700 per suit.
Hussein also has issues in the bedroom – requiring a special 9ft bed to fit his frame.
But it is his health problems that have engulfed his life so much and at one stage was left unable to walk.
Hussein now manages to hobble round on crutches after a kidney transplant last year but says he gets tired easily.
He is now hoping to move out of his care home and travel back to Somalia.
Hussein wants to bring his wife Yasmin back to London so they can live together in Neasden.