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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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He’s 8-foot-1 and ready for love

Sultan Kosen, from Turkey, sits in front of Tower Bridge in London.  (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Sultan Kosen, from Turkey, sits in front of Tower Bridge in London. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Associated Press

LONDON – A towering Turk was officially crowned the world’s tallest man today after his Ukrainian rival dropped out of the running by refusing to be measured.

Guinness World Records said that 8-foot-1-inch Sultan Kosen, from the town of Mardin in eastern Turkey, is now officially the tallest man walking the planet. Although the previous record holder, Ukrainian Leonid Stadnyk, reportedly measured 8 feet 5.5 inches, Guinness said he was stripped of his title when he declined to let anyone confirm his height.

Stadnyk, 39, told the Associated Press he refused to be independently measured because he was tired of being in the public eye.

Kosen, 27, told reporters in London that he was looking forward to parlaying his newfound status into a chance at love.

“Up until now it’s been really difficult to find a girlfriend,” Kosen said through an interpreter. “I’ve never had one; they were usually scared of me. … Hopefully now that I’m famous I’ll be able to meet lots of girls. I’d like to get married.”

Guinness said Kosen grew into his outsize stature because tumor-related damage to his pituitary triggered the overproduction of growth hormones.

The tumor was removed last year, so Kosen, a part-time farmer who uses crutches to stand, isn’t expected to grow any further.

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