The world’s shortest man, He Ping Ping from Inner Mongolia China, has died at the age of just 21. He measured just 2′ 5” (73cm), and was recognised as the world’s shortest man by Guinness World Records in 2008.

He died earlier this month in Rome after being hospitalised suffering from chest pains while filming a TV show.

“From the moment I laid on eyes on him, I knew he was someone special,” said Craig Glenday, Guinness World Records editor-in-chief.

“He had such a cheeky smile and mischievous personality, you couldn’t help but be charmed by him. For such a small man, he made a huge impact around the world.” Glenday added that He was “an inspiration to anyone considered different or unusual”.

One of He’s most remarkable photos was taken during the 2008 launch of the latest Guinness World Book of Records, when he sat beneath Svetlana Pankrtova of Russia, who holds the record for the world’s longest legs at 52 inches.

He was also pictured in 2007 meeting the world’s tallest man, Bao Xishun, 56, who is also from Inner Mongolia and stands 7′ 9” (236cm) tall.

Speaking in 2007, He’s father said that when He was born in Wulanchabu city in 1988 he was small enough to fit in an adult palm. He was later diagnosed with the bone deformity known as osteogenesis imperfecta. His name, Ping Ping, comes from the Mandarin for wine bottle. He was known to be a very heavy smoker.

A 17-year-old boy from Nepal is already poised to succeed He’s title when he reaches 18 later this year. Khagendra Thapa Magar is just 22 inches tall compared to He’s 29.

If recognised, Magar stands to surpass the all time record for the world’s shortest man, set by Gul Mohammed of India, who was 22.4 inches tall.

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Bill Lehane
Bill Lehane, 28, is a journalist and freelance writer from Dublin, Ireland. He recently returned from six months working as a teacher in east China, which gave him a chance to experience many of the wide, weird and wacky sights that make up daily life in the Middle Kingdom. However, he did not succeed in teaching the local teenagers anything whatsoever: they still love Michael Jackson, KFC and themselves. More at
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