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Ukraine Man Declared the World's Tallest

Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko, left, shakes hands with Leonid Stadnik, 36, believed to be the world's tallest man at 2.57 meters tall (8-foot-5.5) during their meeting at a hospital where Stadnik is undergoing medical tests in Ukraine's capital Kiev, in this Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006, file photo. (Image credit: AP Photo/Mykhailo Markiv, File)

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- A Ukrainian man is the tallest person in the world at 8 feet 5 inches, overshadowing a Chinese man who previously held the title, Guinness World Records said Wednesday.

Leonid Stadnik, a 37-year-old former veterinarian, is 8 inches taller than the former titleholder, China's Bao Xishun, who measured 7 feet 9 inches, Guinness World Records spokeswoman Amarilis Espinoza said in London.

Stadnik's growth spurt started at age 14 after a brain operation apparently stimulated his pituitary gland, which produces the human growth hormone.

He lives with his mother, Halyna, in northwestern Ukraine, taking care of the family's house and garden.

According to Guiness, the tallest man in medical history was Illinois native Robert Pershing Wadlow, who was 8 feet 11 inches and died in 1940 at the age of 22.