Shortest man He Pingping dies, Khagendra saddened

LONDON/BEIJING: The world’s shortest man, He Pingping, who stood just over two feet five inches tall, has died, Britain’s Guinness World Records said yesterday. He was 21.

He — a native of China who had a form of primordial dwarfism — was in Rome taking part in a television show when he suffered chest problems.

He was taken to hospital, where he died over the weekend. Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief of London-based Guinness World Records, recalled measuring He in the northern Chinese region of Inner Mongolia in 2008. “For such a small man, he made a huge impact around the world,” Glenday said.

“From the moment I laid on eyes on him, I knew he was someone special — he had such a cheeky smile and mischievous personality, you couldn’t help but be charmed by him,” he said. Guinness World Records said it would announce He’s successor as the world’s shortest man in due course.

Nepal’s Khagendra Thapa Magar, 18, who is 20 inches tall, declared in February that he is the rightful holder of the title.

Magar today said he was saddened by the news. “I offer my heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr Ping. I met him a month ago for the first time and our first meeting was to be our last,” said Magar, who travelled to Italy earlier this year to take part in the television show. Magar applied to Guinness World Records to be recognised as the world’s shortest man in February.

The family of He also said they were shocked by his unexpected death in Italy, saying he had shown no previous signs of bad health. “We just did not expect this bad news,” his sister He Lihua told AFP over the phone from Baotou, a city in the northern region of Inner Mongolia where he lived.

“Pingping went to Italy... and he called

us every day saying he wasn’t eating well and that he missed us.”

He Lihua said her brother had showed no signs of bad health before he left for Italy.