10 Of the most outstanding young bodybuilders who tragically died too soon. Included in this list are Mr Olympia winners, professional athletes, and actors.

The competitive world of bodybuilding is tough on the human body. These athletes put their bodies through grueling workouts day in and day out to build the perfect physique. Unfortunately, sometimes this comes at a cost. 

While bodybuilding may be a physically demanding sport, it can also be dangerous. In fact, many bodybuilders have died tragically young. Here are 10 bodybuilders who died too soon.

1. Luke Sandoe

The fitness community was in mourning once again following the death of Luke Sandoe. Sandoe died on May 7th, 2020, at the age of 31. The cause of death was heart failure. He was considered one of the next major stars of the sport and had a legion of fans around the world.

Luke Sandoe Accomplishments

2012 South Coast – 1st
2012 British Championships – 2nd
2013 South Coast – 1st
2014 Welsh Grand Prix – 1st
2015 British Championships – 6th
2015 Kent Classic Championships – 2nd
2017 Arnold Classic – 8th
2018 Arnold Classic Australia – 6th
2018 Indy Pro – 3rd
2018 California Pro Men’s Bodybuilding – 15th
2019 Arnold Classic – 3rd
2019 Arnold Classic Australia – 5th
2019 Indy Pro – 4th
2019 Tampa Pro Men’s Bodybuilding – 2nd
2019 Mr. Olympia – 11th

2.Baitollah Abbaspour

Professional bodybuilder Baitollah Abbaspour passed away in August 2015 after a long fight with Vasculitis – a disorder that causes inflammation in the blood vessels. Baitollah went into a coma at the Atiyeh Hospital in Iran and passed away shortly after, as reported by Generation Iron.

Baitollah Abbaspour Accomplishments

2014 IFBB San Marino Pro 212, 2nd
2014 IFBB EVLs Prague Pro 212, 2nd
2014 IFBB Korea Pro 212, 3rd
2014 IFBB Olympia 212 Showdown, 5th
2014 IFBB PBW Tampa Pro 212, 5th
2014 IFBB New York Pro 212, 3rd
2014 IFBB Europa Dallas 212, 4th
2014 IFBB Arnold Classic Brazil, 9th
2013 IFBB Mr. Olympia, 16th
2013 IFBB Nordic Pro, 1st
2013 IFBB Mr. Europe Pro, 2nd
2013 IFBB Arnold Classic Brazil, 10th
2013 IFBB FIBO Power Germany, 12th
2012 IFBB Mr. Olympia, 16th
2012 IFBB Nordic Pro, 4th
2012 IFBB Mr. Europe Grand Prix, 3rd
2012 IFBB FIBO Power Germany, 4th
2008 IFBB World Amateur Championships, 1st

3. Cedric McMillan

American bodybuilder Cedric McMillan passed away at 44 years old from a suspected cardiac arrest in April of this year.McMillan, a seasoned veteran of the US Army and National Guard, was a successful bodybuilder and 2017 winner of the Arnold Classic.

Cedric McMillan Accomplishments

2020 Arnold Classic: 6th
2019 Japan Pro: 2nd
2019 Romania Muscle Fest Pro: 1st
2019 Hungary Pro: 1st
2019 Mr. Olympia: 7th
2019 Arnold Classic Australia: 2nd
2019 Arnold Classic: 4th
2018 Mr. Olympia: 9th
2018 Toronto Pro: 3rd
2018 Arnold Classic: 3rd
2017 Ferrigno Legacy: 2nd
2017 Mr. Olympia: 10th
2017 Arnold Classic: 1st
2016 Arnold Classic Australia: 2nd
2016 Arnold Classic: 2nd
2016 Levrone Pro Classic: 1st
2015 Nordic Pro: 3rd
2015 Europa Atlantic City Pro: 2nd
2015 Golden State Pro: 1st
2015 Arnold Classic South America: 2nd
2015 Arnold Classic: 4th
2014 Arnold Classic: 3rd
2013 Mr. Olympia: 12th
2013 New York Pro: 12th
2013 FIBO Power Germany: 1st
2013 Arnold Classic: 6th
2012 New York Pro: 1st
2011 Europa Orlando Pro: 1st
2011 New York Pro: 11th
2010 Europa Dallas Pro: 4th
2009 NPC National Championships: 1st
2008 NPC Junior USA Championships: 1st

4. Dallas McCarver 

Dallas McCarver passed away suddenly in August 2017 at only 26 years old. McCarver, a former top 10 placer at Mr. Olympia and the boyfriend of WWE star Dana Brooke, apparently choked on food.

Dallas McCarver Accomplishments

2012 North American Championships - IFBB, Overall Winner
2012 North American Championships - IFBB, Super-HeavyWeight, 1st
2015 California Pro - IFBB, Winner
2015 Olympia - IFBB, Open, 13th
2016 Arnold Classic Europe - IFBB, 9th
2016 Chicago Pro Championships - IFBB, Open, 1st
2016 Olympia - IFBB, Open, 8th
2017 Arnold Classic - IFBB, Open, 2nd
2017 New Zealand Pro - IFBB, Open, 2nd

5. George Peterson

George Peterson, another bodybuilder, was taken too young. He died in November 2021 after being discovered in his hotel room just a day before he was due to compete in Florida. He was only 37.

According to an announcement from the event’s organizers Olympia LLC on Instagram, the bodybuilding website Barbend reported his death.

George Peterson  Accomplishments

2013 North American Championships, IFBB Men’s Heavyweight, 18th place
2013 National Championships, NPC Men’s Heavyweight, 16th place
2016 Eastern USA Championships, NPC Men’s Classic Physique Class B, 1st place
2016 National Championships, NPC Men’s Classic Physique Class B, Overall, 1st place –  Won the Pro Card
2017 New York Pro, IFBB Men’s Classic Physique, 2nd place
2017 Tampa Pro, IFBB Men’s Classic Physique, 1st place
2017 Joe Weider’s Mr. Olympia, IFBB Men’s Classic Physique, 3rd place

6. Shawn Rhoden

Shawn Rhoden, Mr. Olympia, died in November aged 46. In the hours leading up to his sudden death, the bodybuilder posted multiple times on his Instagram account. His final post included a chilling omen in its caption.

Mr. Olympia Shawn Rhoden passed away in November of last year at only 46 years old. According to Generation Iron, Rhoden died of a heart attack.

Shawn Rhoden Accomplishments

2016 Mr. Olympia – 2nd
2015 EVL’s Prague Pro – 3rd
2015 Mr. Olympia – 3rd
2014 IFBB San Marino Pro – 1st
2014 EVL’s Prague Pro – 3rd
2014 Dubai Pro – 2nd
2014 IFBB Arnold Classic Europe – 2nd
2014 Mr. Olympia – 3rd
2014 IFBB Australian Pro – 1st
2014 IFBB Arnold Classic – 2nd
2013 IFBB Arnold Classic Europe – 4th
2013 Mr. Olympia – 4th
2012 IFBB EVL’s Prague Pro – 2nd
2012 IFBB British Grand Prix – 1st
2012 IFBB Arnold Classic Europe – 1st
2012 Mr. Olympia – 3rd
2012 IFBB Dallas Europa Supershow – 1st
2012 IFBB PBW Tampa Pro – 1st
2012 NPC Dexter Jackson Classic – NP
2012 IFBB Arnold Classic – 8th
2012 IFBB FLEX Pro – 4th
2011 Mr. Olympia – 11th
2011 IFBB Dallas Europa Super Show – 3rd
2010 IFBB Dallas Europa Super Show – 16th

7. Paul Poloczek 

Just hours before his death in May of this year, Polish strongman Paul Poloczek had been competing at the NPC Worldwide Championship in Germany. The cause of death for the 37-year-old has not been confirmed by doctors or his family, so it is still unknown how he passed away.

Paul Poloczek Accomplishments

2018 ARNOLD CLASSIC 2018 - unplaced
2018 NEW YORK PRO 2018 - unplaced
2017 Arnold Classic Amateur 2017 - 1st place and overall winner
2015 IFBB Amateur Olympia 2015 - place - 2nd place
2013 Arnold Classic 2013 – Platz 2
2013 German Championships 2013 – IFBB Super-HeavyWeight – Platz 2
2012 Loaded Cup Overall Winner
2010 Polish Cup – Platz 2
2008 Body- Xtreme 2008 - 6th place
2008 International German Championship 2008 - 3rd place
2005 Juniors Vice-Champion in 2005
2004 Juniors Champion 

8. Andy Haman

In March of last year, American bodybuilding icon and actor Andy Haman passed away at the age of 54. He was nicknamed Mr. Incredible and is said to have died from a pulmonary embolism – a blocked blood vessel in his lungs.

9. John Meadows

John Meadows, a viral bodybuilding star known as the Mountain Dog, was tragically found dead at the age of 49 in August 2021. John had an extensive 30-year-long career and more than 500,000 YouTube followers, where he posted workout videos for people to follow.

He passed away from a blood clot 18 months after having a heart attack – a condition that is unfortunately common among bodybuilders due to the immense pressure they put on their hearts during their careers.

10. Rich Piana

Sarah, the estranged wife of celebrity US bodybuilder Rich Piana, broke the devastating news of his death on Instagram back in August 2017. The 46-year-old collapsed at his

She penned, "I'm crying as I write this that @1dayumay has just passed away. I can hardly believe this... I am so grieved & devastated that he didn't make it.

"I want to express my gratitude to Rich for teaching me a lot about life, whether it was the easy or hard way."

It’s always tragic when somebody dies young, but it’s especially sad when it’s someone who was in the prime of their life.

These bodybuilders all had so much potential and we can only imagine what they could have accomplished if they had lived longer.

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