Bodybuilders who died too young after influencers tragic death – like actor

A bodybuilding influencer has tragically died from a cardiac arrest – and he's just one of many to have suffered the fate.

Rodolfo Duarte Ribeiro dos Santos died on Monday (November 20) in Brazil at the age of 33, just two months after getting engaged to fiancée Carolina Sanchesat. He contracted a liver tumour caused by a huge bleed, which led to his heart attack.

His tragic death at the age of 33, came just two months after he got engaged to getting engaged to fiancée Carolina Sanchesat. According to Brazilian news outlets, he “suffered a cardiac arrest after a haemorrhage caused by a liver adenoma”.

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Unfortunately, dos Santos joins a long line of famous bodybuilders who have died over the years at a young age, while they appeared to be at the peak of fitness. The rigorous physical strain that athletes subject their bodies to, especially on their heart, frequently leads to severe repercussions in their later years, with numerous instances of heart attacks and similar conditions.

Here are 11 bodybuilders who were taken too soon.

Jo Lindner

In June this year, the bodybuilding community were left heartbroken following the death of German bodybuilder and fitness influencer Jo Lindner.

The social media sensation, known online as Joesthetics, died suddenly of an aneurysm in his girlfriend's arms at the age of 30, following neck pain.

Lindner first rose to fame on YouTube by sharing the workout routines he credited with giving him his impressive physique as well as other content relating to his passion.

He spent a brief period of time living in Thailand where he made much of the content that would eventually skyrocket him to stardom.

Neil Currey

In September 2023, bodybuilder and Mr Olympia star Neil Currey died aged 34.

The UK-born weightlifter’s death was revealed by his former mentor and fellow bodybuilding star Milos Sarcev.

His cause of death remains unknown, but an initial post which has since been taken down and edited by Sarcev has raised questions about the circumstances after claiming he had taken his own life.

The late star made a name for himself at several high-profile bodybuilding events, eventually winning the 2022 New York Pro competition.

John Meadows

John Meadows was a viral bodybuilding star known as the Mountain Dog and was tragically found dead at the age of 49 in August 2021.

With a 30-year-long career, John also had more than 500,000 followers on YouTube where he posted workouts for people to follow.

He died from a blood clot 18 months after suffering a heart attack – a condition common among bodybuilders due to the high pressure they put on their hearts during their careers.

Sifiso Lungelo Thabethe

World champion bodybuilder Sifiso Lungelo Thabethe tragically died after performing his signature backflip in front of a horrified crowd during a warm up.

The 23-year-old passed away a few days after he landed on his head while carrying out the stunt during a contest in South Africa.

It was reported that the 75kg muscle man didn't rotate his body far enough, which led to him snapping his neck back in August 2017.

He struggled to flip his body and was filmed lying motionless before rolling onto his back.

Andy Haman

American bodybuilding icon and actor Andy Haman died in March 2021 at the age of 54.

Nicknamed Mr Incredible, he reportedly died as a result of a pulmonary embolism – a blocked blood vessel in his lungs.

He earned his nickname due to his love of dressing up as the superhero character at events.

During his glittering career, Andy also had a go at acting and featured in movie The Jurassic Dead.

Paul Poloczek

Polish strongman Paul Poloczek had been competing at the NPC Worldwide Championship in Germany just hours before his death in May last year.

It remains unclear as to how the 37-year-old passed away, with his cause of death yet to be publicly confirmed by doctors or his family.

His passing was confirmed in a heartbreaking social media post from his wife, who broke the news on her Instagram page.

She wrote: “Bodybuilding was your life. You are not forgotten, you live on in our hearts. We will love you forever."

Shawn Rhoden

Mr Olympia Shawn Rhoden died in November 2021 aged just 46.

The bodybuilder posted to his Instagram account multiple times in the hours leading up to his sudden death and his chilling final Instagram post contained an eerie omen in its caption.

Rhoden reportedly died of a heart attack, according to Generation Iron.

But posting to his Instagram feed just three days before he died, the bodybuilding legend wrote: "Brick by brick and patience it will take. See you on the other side. #thechallenge #train #fitness."

And in his final Insta stories post, Rhoden shared a meme which read: "Be with someone who will take care of you.

"Not materialistically, but takes care of ur soul, ur well being, ur heart & everything that's you."

George Peterson

Bodybuilder George Peterson was another bodybuilder taken too young.

He died in November 2021 after being discovered in his hotel room just a day before he was due to take part in a competition in Florida. He was just 37.

His death was reported by bodybuilding website Barbend citing an announcement from the event’s organisers Olympia LLC on Instagram.

Olympia LLC said: “It is with great sadness that we report the unexpected passing of George Peterson, a champion on stage and off.

“Our condolences go out to his family and all who respected and admired one of the kindest men we have ever known."

An autopsy later revealed he died from sudden cardiac dysrhythmia due to hypertensive cardiovascular disease.

Dallas McCarver

Dallas McCarver died suddenly in August 2017, aged just 26.

McCarver, a former top 10 placer at Mr. Olympia and the boyfriend of WWE star Dana Brooke, reportedly died from choking on food, according to Men's Health.

Brooke is said to have found him unconscious at his home. He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Brooke wrote on her Instagram page: "Dallas was an exceptional body builder, but I didn't see him for that .. I saw him for HIM AND HIS HEART!! He is the best individual I have ever met—my ying to my yang."

Cedric McMillan

American bodybuilder Cedric McMillan died aged 44 from a suspected cardiac arrest in April last year.

McMillan, a long-time veteran of the US Army and National Guard, was a veteran bodybuilder and 2017 winner of the prestigious Arnold Classic.

His death was confirmed online by his sponsor, Black Skull USA.

Black Skull USA posted on Instagram and said: "We regret to inform you that our friend and brother @cedricmcmillan passed away today.

"Cedric will be greatly missed as an athlete, comrade, friend and father."

McMillan became a professional bodybuilder in 2009, before going on to win a string of competitions culminating in the 2017 Arnold Classic, named after bodybuilder, actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

After 2020, however, he was largely unable to compete after being plagued by health problems including a serious bicycle crash, heart problems and Covid-19.

Rich Piana

Celebrity US bodybuilder Rich Piana died back in August 2017 after collapsing at his home.

The 46-year-old's estranged wife Sarah broke the devastating news on Instagram.

She wrote: "I'm in tears writing this that @1dayumay has just passed away. I can barely believe this… I am so saddened & heartbroken that he didn't make it.

"I just want to say THANK YOU Rich for teaching me so much about life, whether it was the easy or the hard way."

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