Just who is Andre the Giant and how big is he?
- 6 Feet 11 Inches tall.
- Weighed 500 pounds (over 225 KG).
- Andre the Giant was a professional wrestler with the WWF (now the WWE).
- Born in 1946, Died in 1993.
- Suffered from Acromegaly (or “Giantism”).
- Downed 155 cans of beer at one sitting.
- Played Fezzik, the giant in the film: The Princess Bride (1987).
Professional wrestler and actor, born Andre Rene Roussimoff, on May 19, 1946, in Grenoble, France. Roussimoff suffered from acromegaly, or “giantism,” an endocrinological disorder that causes the body to secrete excessive amounts of growth hormones and produces continual growth, especially in the head, hands, and feet.
As a child, he displayed symptoms of gigantism very early, reaching a height of 191 cm (6 ft 3 in) and a weight of 94 kg (208 lb) by the age of 12. He reportedly inherited the disease from his grandfather.
Roussimoff was a good student, particularly in mathematics, but he dropped out after the eighth grade since he did not think that having a high school education was necessary for a farm labourer. He spent years working on his father’s farm, where, according to his brother, Jacques, he could perform the work of three men. He also completed an apprenticeship in woodworking, and next worked in a factory that manufactured engines for hay balers. None of these occupations, however, brought him any satisfaction. One of five siblings, Roussimoff left his family’s small farm at age fourteen.
Getting into Wrestling
After training with the French wrestling champion Frank Valois, he wrestled in Montreal under the name Jean Ferre and in Japan as “Monster Roussimoff.” He became known for his baby face and intimidating physique and soon proved virtually unbeatable in Canada’s wrestling circuits. Valois, acting as his manager, set up a meeting with the wrestling promoter Vince McMahon, Sr.
On March 26, 1973, Roussimoff debuted in the World Wide Wrestling Federation (later World Wrestling Federation) as a fan favourite as “Andre the Giant”, defeating Buddy Wolfe in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
The Biggest Rivalry in WWF (now known as WWE) in the 1980s
During the 1970s, Andre wrestled more than 300 days a year and became one of the world’s most famous professional athletes. Though he never lifted weights, he was thought by some to be the strongest man in the world. He remained dominant into the late 1980s, defeating Hulk Hogan for the World Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Title on February 5, 1988.
It was later revealed that Hulk & Andre had been good friends and colleagues but painted as rivals with Andre being the Villan this time. In their final match, Andre had too much pain from his joints and spine due to his deteriorating health as a result of his condition. Therefore, Hulk Hogan had to plan the entire match around Andre’s immobility and ended up defeating the previously undefeated giant to put him into retirement.
Wrestlemania IV (WWF) Finale
Here is the famous final match between the 2 wrestling greats of WWF (now known as WWE).
Being a giant was not easy. He was so popular in the 70s and 80s that he spends most of his days travelling. Often he had to endure weird gazes and pointed fingers when out in the public. On flights, he could only relieve himself into a bucket behind curtains as he could not fit into the toilets. His fingers were so big he could not play the piano or dial the rotary phones of his era.
“I am not supernatural. I’m just myself,” Andre once said in an interview. “So, what God gave me, I use it to make a living.”
Acromegaly can lead to enlarged organs, limited mobility and headaches, among other physical issues. Given the opportunity to have the brain tumour removed and ultimately live a much more comfortable — and perhaps longer — life, Andre declined.
Andre died alone in a Paris hotel in 1993 at age 46 from congestive heart failure after attending a family member’s funeral.