Inside The Life Of The World's Shortest Man

Since 1955, the Guinness World Record keepers have enchanted the world with a largely good-natured collection of human extremes, skewing more towards "P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman" and less "P.T. Barnum in real life." A stroll through their website will turn up hundreds of living curiosities: the woman with the most spacewalks, the man with the stretchiest mouth skin, and the great H.R. Gieger/Dale Chihuly body horror mashup that is the Longest Fingernails section.

And one category stands definitively below the rest: that of the World's Shortest Living Man. From October of 2010 until January of 2020, the title of World's Shortest Mobile Man was held by 67.08 centimetre-high Khagendra Thapa Magar, but his untimely passing at the age of 27 left the position vacant. The torch was passed back to Edward Niño Hernández, who stands just shy of 2-foot 4 ½ inches tall, who had previously held the record before having it snatched out from under him by Magar. Even still, he is a mammoth compared to the shortest man alive.

It ain't easy

Born June 12th, 1993, Junrey Balawing is the shortest living man on the planet at 59.93 centimetres high, according to Guinness World Records. The oldest of four children, he resides in the Philippines with his parents, who say that he stopped growing around his first birthday.

Balawing was crowned World's Shortest again in 2015 after the death of the man who dethroned him, Chandra Bahadur Dangi.

Per Reuters, Balawing's family was eager to regain the spotlight in the hopes of finding help for their son. His condition has yet to be diagnosed, but it's left him in need of constant help. Junrey struggles with verbal communication and requires help to move around. As a result, he was unable to attend school. Guinness editor-in-chief Craig Glenday stated "The previous record holder had been given medical care... He even had free surgery provided by the U.S.A. So there are benefits to being a record holder."

"Obviously, being that size, it's quite a compromised life," he continued. "We hope that by publicising his case, medical practitioners will pay attention."