At 21 and a half inches, Chandra Bahadur Dangi was the world's shortest person – indeed, the shortest person in recorded history. Born in the village of Kalimati in the Salyan District of Nepal, he was of average birth size, but by the time he was four his mother noticed that his friends were outgrowing him. He was given bone-strengthening medicine but did not grow any further.
He had lived with his family in Rimkholi, in the Dang District, an isolated village with no mains electricity. Before achieving recognition as the world's shortest man he had made a modest living from weaving mats and the namlo, a jute head-strap used for transporting goods.
In 2012 he was spotted by a visiting timber merchant who measured him and suggested that he might be a possible record contender. Dangi travelled to the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, to be assessed by a team from Guinness World Records. After he was measured three times in one day – the standard method of ensuring that the height is constant – his place in the record books was confirmed.
Dangi was presented with two certificates, one for being the shortest living individual in the world in the history of Guinness records, and another for being the world's current shortest living human. He said at the presentation, "I think things will be better now. I hope that I will be famous all over the world."
Last year he travelled to the UK and met the world's tallest man, 8ft 1in Sultan Kösen, on Guinness World Records Day. "I'm honoured to be in London, I've always wanted to visit, and the fact I get to meet Sultan is special," he said. "It makes me extremely proud to represent Nepal all around the world. I'm extremely humbled by the support I receive."
For his part, Kösen said, "To be able to finally meet Chandra after all this time is amazing. Even though he is short and I am tall, we have had similar struggles throughout our lives, and when I look into Chandra's eyes I can see he is a good man."
Dangi was touring in American Samoa with the Tupa'l Bruno's Magic Circus when he was taken ill with pneumonia and died. The title of the world's shortest man now returns to the Filipino, Junrey Balawing, who is two inches taller and who previously held the title. Guinness World Records said in tribute: "He will be remembered forever as an iconic and extraordinary record holder."
Chandra Bahadur Dangi, world's shortest man: born Kalimati, Nepal 30 November 1939; died Pago Pago, American Samoa 3 September 2015.Reuse content