- (Photo: Reuters)
The world's tallest woman has died, reports are claiming. Yao Defen from China, was only 39 years old when she passed away at her home in China's eastern province of Anhui, according to media reports coming out of China.
A Chinese government official named "Liu" has reportedly broken the news in the country.
Defen was officially recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2011 as the tallest woman on the planet. She measured in at 7 feet 7 inches tall.
According to one of her neighbors: "I saw Yao lying on the bed but she was not breathing. Her sisters rushed back home too and soon afterward the doctor announced she had passed away," according to The Shanghaiist publication.
In the aftermath of the reports of her passing away, the cause of death was not immediately known, although some reports have suggested that she suffered from gigantism and the levels of her growth hormones were disrupted by a tumor on her pituitary gland.
In 2006 she had a tumor removed but in the aftermath she suffered from a number of other serious conditions. One report has suggested that she had a blood clot on her brain.
After undergoing various medical treatment her family were left with expensive bills and some sources have explained that her family could not afford another operation, according to the Daily Mail.
At the age of 15 Defen was a basketball player – she was 6 foot 7 inches at that age. Many had suggested she would go on and be the world's top female basketball player, but she continued to grow way beyond the 7 foot mark and her huge body structure is said to have caused her lungs and heart to strain too much, ending her bright prospects at a sports career, according to the Shanghaiist.
Looking for work was difficult for her; she suffered health issues and also stood out due to her extreme height. Defen, desperate for work, joined a circus, but faced extreme mockery and ridicule, and that forced her to quit in 2004.
In 2009 she spoke about her unhappiness with her height, saying, "I am very unhappy. Why am I this tall?" she said from her bed. "If I were not this tall, others would not look at me like this," according to The Associated Press.