The Real Reason Andre The Giant Was So Big

Andre the Giant, whose real name was André René Roussimoff, was literally larger than life, humongous in person as well as in the hearts of his fans. Probably everyone. At least everyone who saw The Princess Bride. He started as a professional wrestler, which is a natural place to start when you stand 7'4" and weigh over 500 lbs. He was only 18 years old, progressing through the next couple of decades until he was known as "the eighth wonder of the world," according to the WWE. Andre would go on to win multiple professional wrestling titles and star in multiple movies. Well, he starred in one movie, but it was a really good one.

Andre had always been big — from shortly after birth in his native France until his death in 1993 — and it had nothing to do with how much weight he lifted or how many protein shakes he consumed. So, why was this gentle giant such a giant in the first place?

He had acromegaly

Andre the Giant had a pituitary disorder known as acromegaly. He was destined to be a giant from birth and became one relatively quickly, reaching 6'3" and 240 lbs by the time he was 12 years old. But acromegaly wasn't the blessing Andre made it out to be.

The condition was caused by a tumor resting on Andre's pituitary gland, causing it to produce way too much growth hormone, which in turn caused every part of his body to grow excessively large. The tumor was left undiscovered until he was wrestling in Japan at the age of 24, at which time the doctors urged him to get it removed, according to Village News. Andre declined; removing the tumor would have ended his wrestling career. He would've never become the famous behemoth that everyone knew and loved, but it may have allowed him to live a longer life. Instead, the acromegaly, mixed with Andre's unhealthy lifestyle — seriously, USA Today reports that he once drank 108 beers in 45 minutes — directly damaged his heart, causing his death from heart failure when he was only 46 years old. Village News says Andre's acromegaly led to diabetes and a disinterest in sex as well.