SINDANGAN, Philippines – In this sleepy town by the sea, a new international celebrity is crowned.
Junrey Balawing was confirmed today by Guinness World Records as the world’s shortest man.
According to local health officials here in the province of Zamboanga del Norte on the southern island of Mindanao, the teenager, whose 18th birthday today coincides with the Philippines Independence Day, stands 24 1/4 inches tall, about the size of a 1-year-old.
Balawing is the shortest adult ever recorded, according to Craig Glenday, editor in chief of Guinness World Records.
Glenday, along with several other Guinness World Records officials, visited the small town Saturday to make the final determination.
Balawing smashes the previous record by nearly 2 inches.
The former title holder is Khagendra Thapa Magar, who stands at 26.4 inches, according to the organization.
Balawing has not grown since he was a toddler. He struggles to walk, even with assistance, and can barely stand on his own.
Doctors and other local health officials say an endocrine imbalance appears to be the cause of his condition. He also appears to lack normal growth hormones, according to Dr. Lolita Hamry, municipal health director for Sindangan.