Chandra Bahadur Dangi poses with his Guinness World Records certificate.

A 72-year-old man from a remote valley in Nepal has been declared the world’s shortest man in history, Guinness World Records officials said Sunday.

Chandra Bahadur Dangi secured the honor with a height of 54.6 centimeters. He weighs 12 kilogrammes, and stands 5.3 centimeters shorter than Junrey Balawing of the Philippines, who previously held the “world’s shortest man” title, according to CNN.

Dangi lives in Rhimkholi, an isolated mountain village some 400 kilometers west of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. A foreign contractor cutting timber in the village last month alerted local media to his height.

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Orphaned at 12 and a weaver by trader, Dangi took a plane for the first time in his life last week to travel to Kathmandu to meet Guinness World Records officials, according to Reuters.

Guinness editor-in-chief Craig Glenday oversaw the official measurement of Dangi at a medical clinic in the capital.

“It feels very good – I’m very happy,” Dangi told reporters. “I will work on promoting my country all over the world.”

In an interview with the Agence France Presse, Dangi said the title would compensate for years of hardship, during which relatives used to display him at freak shows to earn money for themselves.

“Until now, Chandra’s stature has been a burden; he is acutely aware of the difficulties of fitting into an average-sized world and is disappointed at having missed out on the chance to find a wife,” Guinness World Records said on Sunday.

Dangi, who claims never to have visited a doctor or taken medication of any kind, has become something of a celebrity in the impoverished nation of 26.6 million people. He and his seven siblings plan to set up a charity to support him and his village. 

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