World's New Shortest Guy Is 23.5"

Junrey Balawing stopped growing when he was 2 months old

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 12, 2011 8:56 AM CDT

(Newser) – Junrey Balawing stopped growing 17 years and 10 months ago, and today, on his 18th birthday, was named the world's shortest man for his trouble. Guinness World Records swooped into his Philippine hometown, measured Balawing up at a whopping 23.5" inches, and gave him a certificate that stands nearly as tall as he is, reports the AP. "Although he's short, he takes that in stride," a Guinness rep says. "He has this cheeky smile."

Balawing—who is about the size of a toddler and has a child's demeanor—needs help to stand because of weak knees. His father said he first walked at age 5 with assistance. No one's sure what the cause of his stature is, but some speculate it might be a birth defect or an endocrine issue. Balawing has three average-sized siblings. He takes over the title from Nepal's Khagendra Thapa Magar, who is 26.4 inches tall. Click through the photo gallery for more shots of Balawing.

Junrey Balawing smiles as he is presented by Craig Glenday, second from left, with a Guinness World Records certificate for being the world's shortest living man.   (Bullit Marquez)
Junrey Balawing, 18, smiles as he stands next to a ruler being held by his mother Concepcion prior to the last of a series of measurements conducted by Guinness World Records.   (Bullit Marquez)
Junrey Balawing smiles as he is measured by Guinness World Records adjudicator Craig Glenday.   (Bullit Marquez)
Junrey Balawing smiles as he is measured in southern Philippines, Sunday June 12, 2011, his 18th birthday. Balawing was officially declared the world's shortest living man at 23.5 inches.   (BULLIT MARQUEZ)
Junrey Balawing jokes with a ruler prior to being measured, Sunday, June 12, 2011, his 18th birthday. Balawing was officially declared "the world's shortest living man" at 23.5 inches.   (BULLIT MARQUEZ)
Junrey Balawing is helped by a police officer to make a salute during celebration of the Philippines' independence at Sindangan Municipal Hall, southern Philippines, Sunday, June 12, 2011.   (BULLIT MARQUEZ)
Reynaldo, left, and Concepcion Balawing, parents of Junrey Balawing, react as Junrey jokes on the microphone after he was officially declared the world's shortest living man.   (Bullit Marquez)
Junrey Balawing eats his cake after he was officially declared the world's shortest living man.   (BULLIT MARQUEZ)
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