September 6, 2010 in Nation/World

The world’s shortest man – for a short while

Frank Bajak Associated Press
 

BOGOTA, Colombia – Edward Niño Hernandez is in many ways a typical 24-year-old Colombian male. He loves to dance reggaeton, dreams of owning a car – preferably a Mercedes – and wants to see the world.

What sets Niño apart is his size.

He is slightly taller than a piece of carry-on luggage and weighs just 22 pounds.

Niño has just been officially certified as the world’s shortest living man by Guinness World Records, measuring 27 inches.

“He hasn’t grown since he was 2 years old,” his mother, Noemi Hernandez, said of the oldest of her five living children.

The previous titleholder was He Pingping of China, who was 1.5 inches taller and died March 13. The Guinness people discovered Niño afterward.

They say Niño’s reign is not likely to last long, however.

Khagendra Thapa Magar, of Nepal, is expected to take over after he turns 18 on Oct. 14. He measures about 22 inches and is currently recognized by Guinness as the shortest living teen.

Doctors never could explain why Niño is so small, his parents say.

Hernandez, 43, said Niño weighed just 3.3 pounds at birth and was 15 inches long.

She said doctors at the National University studied him until he was 3, then lost interest.

“I feel happy because I’m unique,” Niño said in an interview Friday.

He does, however, have his problems: cataracts in both of his eyes that blur his vision.

Other than his eyes, he has no medical complaints.

He’s mentally sharp and laughs easily, though it’s sometimes hard to understand his high-pitched speech, and his stubby fingers make writing difficult.

Niño had to repeat several years of school before dropping out in the eighth grade. But he’s very sociable, loves to travel – though he hasn’t been outside Colombia – and likes to play dominoes and checkers.

“He only gets depressed when he’s shut in at home,” his mother said.

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