25 Most Unfortunate Bodybuilding Tragedies

Bodybuilding is a dangerous sport. It pushes competitors to the limit, creating a culture that demands peak performance no matter what the cost. Tragically, many professional bodybuilders have taken it too far, abusing drugs and building freakish bodies. Many have also paid the ultimate price and lost their lives. Here are the 25 Most Unfortunate Bodybuilding Tragedies.

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Scott Klein

KleinSource: https://www.t-nation.com

As a multiple NPC heavyweight competitor, Scott Klein grew increasingly big to compete. Sadly, at the age of 30, he passed away due to kidney failure. He died much too young and is remembered and missed by family and friends.


Greg Plitt

LIncoln_MA_HDR_Train_TracksSource: http://www.cbsnews.com

Bodybuilder, fitness model, and actor Greg Plitt was shooting a video on train tracks for his website when the unthinkable happened. Misjudging the situation, Plitt tried to flee an oncoming train, but tripped, and was hit.


Mike Matarazzo

Blausen_0463_HeartAttackSource: http://steroidanalysis.com

Originally from Boston, Mike Matarazzo moved to California to become a bodybuilder. He competed in many heavyweight bodybuilding competitions over his lifetime. Unfortunately, in his 40’s, he had consistent heart problems and eventually died from a heart attack from clogged arteries. Matarazzo believed his heart problems were due to his steroid use.


Hamid Ali

Bodybuilding_and_fitness_bikini_open_tournament_in_Kaliningrad_(2016-10-16)_32Source: https://tribune.com.pk

Hamid Ali had a dream of becoming a South Asia Bodybuilding Champion. Tragically, his dream was cut short when he suffered from cardiac arrest. The Pakistan Bodybuilding Federation president stated this was the second time a bodybuilder passed away in those circumstances and called for anti-doping measures.


Trevor Smith

GymSource: https://www.t-nation.com

Weighing over 400 pounds, Trevor Smith never competed in a bodybuilding championship but helped others along the way. Tragically, he passed away from a heart attack at the young age of 30.


Steve Michalik

Free weightsSource: http://www.rxmuscle.com

Steve Michalik was a famous professional bodybuilder with groundbreaking (and somewhat controversial) techniques that helped future bodybuilders to come. Despite undergoing a stroke and a heart attack, Michalik kept pushing forward and lived to be 63 until he tragically died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.


Humayun Khurram

Khurrum-Humyun-Body-Builder-19-04001-640x480Source: https://www.lamuscle.com

Gold medal winner of the 2016 South Asian Bodybuilding Championship, Humayun Khurram tragically passed in a very bizarre way. While he was eating, his family said his trachea broke. Even though his family denies he took steroids, medical professionals said it’s likely steroids played a factor.


Chad Brothers

Gold's_Gym,_3910_Wilson_Blvd_(Arlington,_Virginia)Source: http://www.nydailynews.com

Already a grumbling, angry mess when he entered the Gold’s Gym that day, Chad Brothers’s fury took a violent, tragic turn. After punching a man in the face, he began throwing dumbbells around and equipment on the floor. When police arrived, it took a taser and several officers to subdue him. However, before he made it to the hospital, he suffered a heart attack.


Matloob Haider

drugsSource: https://www.samaa.tv/

Soon after Hamid Ali and Humayun Khurram passed away, Matloob Haider, another bodybuilder in Pakistan died from excessive use of steroids.


Aziz Shavershian

Zyzz1Source: http://www.smh.com.au

A self-professed skinny boy who turned into a bodybuilding Youtube heartthrob, Aziz Shavershian, also known as “Zyzz,” went on vacation in Thailand for some rest and relaxation. Tragically, he had an undiagnosed heart condition which lead to a heart attack while he was in a sauna. He was only 22 years old.


Dan Puckett

PuckettSource: http://www.tuscaloosanews.com

Already a heavyweight bodybuilding champion at the age of 22, Puckett was a senior at the University of Alabama majoring in Marketing. One day, his roommate found him dead in his bathroom. It’s believed that he died from natural causes.


Gregg Valentino

Depo-testosterone_200_mg_mlSource: https://www.t-nation.com

Gregg Valentino has really, really big arms. In fact, they look so bulky and huge, we originally thought they were photoshopped. Measuring at 27 inches, his arms are some of the largest arms in the world. To put that in perspective, he is 5’5″ and his waist is 27 inches as well. Of course, he’s been arrested for taking steroids. No amount of arm curls could get you to that size. The big tragedy here? Even other bodybuilders hate him.


Anthony D'Arezzo

Blausen_0165_Cardiomyopathy_DilatedSource: https://www.elitefitness.com

A veteran in the bodybuilding world, Anthony D’Arezzo decided to make a comeback and compete again. While preparing for an upcoming championship, he collapsed in his hotel room from cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart.


Ruben Azru

Police_issue_X26_TASERSource: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

When a young couple returned home, they were not expecting to find a naked bodybuilder, weighing over 300 pounds, to be sitting on their doorstep. When Leo Rubio confronted bodybuilder Ruben Azru, Azru attacked and injured both Leo Rubio and his wife. It took two tasers and four police officers to subdue the raging man.


Robert Benavente

14017-benavente06Source: http://www.getbig.com

After winning a bodybuilding championship in the Southern states, Robert Benavente wanted to focus his attention on building a nutrition business with his wife. However, tragically, the worst happened and Benavente suffered a heart attack at the young age of 30.


Gary Himing

empty stageSource: https://musclemecca.com

A popular Australian bodybuilder, Gary Himing suffered a tragedy that no performer, entertainer, or competitor wants to face. While in the middle of a competition, Himing collapsed on stage from cardiac arrest. Staff and paramedics did everything they could, but he died at the scene.


Oli Cooney

weight-lifting-1284616_640Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Wanting to change his body image, Oli Cooney was obsessed with exercise and fitness. Even after two heart attacks and three strokes, he kept building muscle, thinking he was invincible, but eventually, the exercise and excessive steroid use caught up with him. He passed away at 20 years of age.


Andreas Munzer

body fatSource: http://abcnews.go.com

Having some body fat is essential for survival and a healthy lifestyle. Andreas Munzer, the famed bodybuilding professional, serves as a cautionary tale for those trying to remove too much body fat. After suffering multiple organ failures, an autopsy revealed he had zero body fat, a condition that doctors say quickened his demise.


Dean Wharmby

Culinary_fruits_front_viewSource: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important to keeping your liver and other vital organs working properly. Dean Wharmby learned this lesson the hard way when he lived on a 10,000 calorie diet of pizza and energy drinks that produced a tumor in his liver too big to operate on.


Ray & Sally McNeil

Lecumberri_Prison_CellSource: http://www.musculardevelopment.com

Ray McNeil was a professional bodybuilder getting ready for the South Beach Pro invitational when he got into a fight with his wife Sally. Without warning, Sally grabbed a shotgun, fired twice and killed him before running to a neighbor, claiming Ray was beating her. A further investigation found out she premeditated the murder for Life Insurance money. She was sent to prison for 20 years.


Nasser El Sonbaty

Nasser-El-SonbatySource: https://thinksteroids.com

Nasser El Sonbaty, an IFBB professional bodybuilder who admitted to using steroids, died in his sleep from heart failure and kidney damage at the age of 47. He started bodybuilding in 1985 and built a famed career, appearing in many bodybuilding magazines.


Dave Brown

car dashSource: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk

On their drive back home, professional bodybuilder Dave Brown and his fiancè were on the top of the world after his big championship win. They were eating, talking, and laughing when the unexpected happened. Brown suddenly stopped breathing and collapsed. Tragically, he was declared dead in the hospital only moments later.


Bertil Fox

A_metal_bucketSource: https://www.si.com

A former Mr. Universe, Bertil Fox spends most of his time lifting buckets of water to stay in shape instead of taking steroids, but that’s not for a lack of trying. After being convicted of murder, he now serves life in prison and doesn’t have access to steroids like he once did. He’s gone from 270-pounds all the way down to 207-pounds.


Gordon Kimbrough

Broken_heart.svgSource: http://www.sfgate.com

Bodybuilder Gordon Kimbrough had plans to marry his fiance Kristy Ramsey; when she told Kimbrough that she wanted to call off the wedding and see another man, he took things way too far. In a violent rage, he strangled and stabbed to her death. Afterward, Kimbrough was given a life in prison sentence.


Andrew Gajdos

POL_Prokocim_TescoSource: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Andrew Gajdos was a 19-year-old kid with aspirations to be just like The Rock, also known as Dwayne Johnson. After walking outside of a Tesco store, he collapsed from a ruptured aorta and died. Later, traces of steroids and testosterone were found inside his body.

Photo: 25. Photo used with permission: USAMuscle, 24. jon collier, LIncoln MA HDR Train Tracks, CC BY-SA 2.0, 23. Blausen Medical Communications, Inc., Blausen 0463 HeartAttack, CC BY 3.0 , 22. Westpress Kaliningrad archive, image # / Alexandr Podgorchuk / CC-BY-SA 4.0, Bodybuilding and fitness bikini open tournament in Kaliningrad (2016-10-16) 32, CC BY-SA 4.0
21. gqemer via flickr. CC by 2.0 , 20. MaxPixel.com (Public Domain) 19. photo used with permission: Samaa.tv , 18. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 17. Dean812 via flickr. CC BY 2.0, 16. Erikoo112000, Zyzz1, CC BY-SA 4.0 , 15. Photo used with permission: USAMuscle , 14. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain) , 13. BruceBlaus. When using this image in external sources it can be cited as: Blausen.com staff (2014). “Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014“. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436., Blausen 0165 Cardiomyopathy Dilated, CC BY 3.0 , 12. Junglecat, Police issue X26 TASER, CC BY-SA 3.0, 11.  Photo used with permission: USAMuscle , 10. christopher.durant via flickr. CC BY 2.0  ,9. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain) , 8. 95Berlin via flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0 , 7. No machine-readable author provided. Ionutzmovie assumed (based on copyright claims)., Culinary fruits front view, CC BY 3.0 , 6. Djarter, Lecumberri Prison Cell, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 5. HN webmaster, Nasser-El-Sonbaty, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 4. Pexels.com (Public domain) , 3. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain) , 2. Corazón.svg: User:Fibonacci derivative work: Eviatar Bach (talk), Broken heart, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 1. Wikipedia commons.com (Public Domain)

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