André the Giant has been the subject of everything from street art to tee shirts and documentaries. His impressive mass and abilities inspired fear, awe, and curiosity everywhere he went, along with mythical stories that defy belief.
From the moment of birth, André René Roussimoff was notable for his size. When he was born on May 19, 1946, he weighed over 13 pounds, or the average weight of a four-month old baby.
Despite his large size, André was a normal kid who spent his childhood helping his parents manage their farm in their pastoral hometown of Molien, France. The Roussimoff family's humble farming life left little room for luxury or extravagance. The children got oranges instead of toys for Christmas, and walked the mile-and-a-half to and from school unless someone in the village was around to drive them.
One of those people was the famous Irish novelist, playwright, and Nobel Prize laureate Samuel Beckett, who moved to France in 1937.
André was loved and happy at home, but he wanted something more than a farmer's life. Genetics and fate would grant him his wish.
The human body has numerous checks and balances to maintain stasis, but they don't always function properly. When a person's pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone, it results in a condition known as acromegaly. It's an incredibly rare condition, the most obvious symptom of which is gigantism, which results in excess height and girth, especially in the hands and feet, as well as enlarged facial features.
Some less obvious symptoms include sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, heart enlargement, spinal cord compression, and an increased risk of colon cancer, among other ailments. It sounds like a constant, painful, never-ending fight with gravity, especially for a physical performer. Keep watching the video to see the tragic Details About Andre the Giant's Life.
The legend is born | 0:00
A disorder of massive proportions | 1:12
Two paths cross in rural France | 2:30
Taking a giant leap of faith | 3:04
From farm boy to mythical lumberjack | 3:50
The Giant meets a McMahon | 5:24
A gentle giant at heart | 6:17
From wrestling star to movie star | 7:13
The bigger they are, the harder they party | 7:54
The giant's burden | 8:58
Passing the torch | 10:10
Succumbing to gravity | 11:29
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