Bodybuilders Who Passed Away Too Young

It’s deniable that using powerful drugs on a regular basis appear to be needed to be a world-class bodybuilder. While steroids are very common and open to debate to be harmful for body, some other drugs like insulin, HGH and Diuretics cause more serious issues likemuscular corpse, organ failure, Cardiovascular disease and even death for bodybuilders.

Using anabolic steroids got more common in the early 60’s when bodybuilders found out this can take their muscles some steps higher. But even about steroid, the majority of studies link long-term consumption of steroid with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and irregular heart function. Here is one out of hundreds of studies on effects of steroid abuse.

Maybe it’s not fair to not mention that some professional bodybuilders have died of natural causes before hitting 35 years old. But even the ones who have survived and are in their 50s or so, are not without major health problems.

Below, named some very unfortunate deaths of well-known body builders who passed away too young.

Mike Matarazzo (Died Age 48)


Mike Matarazzo is one of the well-known bodybuilders of all time, remembered for his impressive calves and arms. Mike was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. Like many others in his generation, Mike decided to try his hand at boxing inspired by ‘Rocky Balboa’. He won his first title at the age of 24. He became the 1985 Massachusetts Golden Gloves light-heavyweight champion.

He competed seven times at Mr. Olympia contest from 1991 to 2001 while his best placing was 9thin 1998. He was retired on December 8, 2004 because of having open heart surgery. He had a heart attack 3 years later on November 8, 2007. Finally, He died on August 16, 2014, in Stanford hospital in Palo Altowhile waiting for a heart transplant.

 Dallas McCarver (Died Age 26)


Dallas McCarver started his career at an early age. He won 3 out of 5 of his IFBB competitions between 2012 and 2015. He also placed 8th at the 2016 Mr. Olympia Competition. In March 2017, Dallas collapsed while posing at the Arnold Classic in Australia. He explained later that he had been battling an upper respiratory infection that progressed into bronchitis, leaving him unable to catch his breath.

On August 22, 2017, Dallas was found on the floor at home with food scattered around him. He was pronounced dead at 1:03 am. Enlarged liver and kidneys, nephrosclerosis (a hardened kidney), heavy lungs, and a papillary thyroid carcinoma were noted in autopsy.

Just a few hours before death, he posted a video of himself chest pressing 160-pound dumbbells on his Instagram page.His death was saddening but also brought to light his history of steroid abuse. 

Andreas Münzer (Died Age 31)


Andreas Munzer was a professional bodybuilder from Austria, known for his extremely ripped physique. His bodybuilding debut came in 1986, at the European Amateur Championships. He turned professional with his heavyweight victory at the 1989 IFBB World Amateur Games and competed several times in numerous competitions including the Mr. Olympia and Arnold Classic.

On March 12, 1996, he started bleeding internally from his stomach. When the bleeding was stopped by doctors, his kidneys and liver were collapsed. On the morning of March 14, 1996, the bodybuilding world awoke to the devastating news of Andreas’ death.

Bodybuilding had received much criticism about the abusive of anabolic steroids and its dangers. How many steroids are too many steroids? The question was back again. It is clear bodybuilding drugs were a factor in Andreas’ death, but is this the whole story?

Anthony D’Arezzo (Died Age 44)


Anthony was a graduate of Boston University and had worked as apersonal trainer over a decade. He was the OverallNew England Champion back in 1997, and was in the top ten at the NPCNationals on several occasions, as well as competing in powerlifting. In 1997 he had ripped a tricep muscle while training for the NPC nationals and had to have surgery to reattach it to his elbow. It set him back almost two years, but eventually he returned to the gym. Doctors in 2002 had diagnosed him with congenital heart disease.

He was in Pittsburghin his hotel room, where hewas going to compete in the Masters Nationalswhen he collapsed in his hotel room at Sheraton Station Square.An autopsy ruled that Mr. D’Arezzo died of cardiomyopathy, according to the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office.

Nasser El Sonbaty (Died Age 47)


Nasser El Sonbaty was born on October 15, 1965; graduated from the University of Augsburg in Germany. His father was Egyptian and his mother was from Yugoslavia. He was strong and had an ideal genetic as it’s said that he was benching 85 kilos when he was 17 years old. Nasser began bodybuilding in 1983. His first appearance in the Mr. Olympia competition was in 1994, where he placed 7th.

He qualified for 10 consecutive Mr. Olympia contests and entered nine Mr. Olympia competitions. His best placing in the competition was in 1997, where he placed 2ndbehind Dorian Yates. Nasser is often referred to as the “Uncrowned Mr. Olympia,” because many believe that Nasser should have won that competition. The greatest victory of his career maybe was his win at the 1999 Arnold Classic in Ohio, USA.

He suffered from a Staph Infection in his shoulder which nearly cost him his life. He was in hospital for a long time and needed several operations. Nasser required a heart transplant, but he did not qualify as a candidate so chose to spend his final days with his family in Egypt. He died in his sleep due to kidney and heart failure.

Greg Kovacs (Died Age 44)


Greg Kovacs was a Canadian bodybuilder born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario with a rare monumental height compared to most pro bodybuilders. Standing 6’4″ tall with 400 lbs muscle mass he was a rare bodybuilder with massive size throughout his frame. Gregory developed over 27 inch arms in the prime of his career.

His highest professional bodybuilding placing was 13th at the 2004 Arnold Classic. Kovacs died on November 22, 2013 at midnight, in his Mississauga, Ontario condominium from heart failure.

Daniele Seccarecci (Died Age 33)


Daniele Seccarecci was born on February 17 1980 in Livorno, Tuscany. He became interested in the world of bodybuilding from an early age. He turned professional at the age of 26 and he went close to qualifying for the Mister Olympia at the 2006 Spanish Grand Prix.

Aside from being a top ranked bodybuilder from Europe, Daniele was also holder of the Guinness Book of Records as the man with the largest arms in the world (55cm/21.65 inches) and the heaviest competitive male bodybuilder. He was arrested in 2011 under charges of illegal steroid marketing and briefly subject to home detention.

Rumour has it that Daniele suffered from a heart condition resulting in a heart attack. He apparently collapsed and hit his head on 4 September 2013. His mother found the body of Seccarecci, who had returned on Monday from a trip to Finland where he took part in sporting events.

50 thoughts on “Bodybuilders Who Passed Away Too Young

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  1. I think you are being way to light in this article for these disgusting looking individuals, who helped drag ‘bodybuilding’ into the gutter…… (I’m sad they are dead, and believe me I nearly tried the steroid route, I understand why they did it!) But my god I’m glad I didn’t.

    Andreas Münzer (and others) look like a walking chemical factory, small surprise then there may have been ‘complications’………

    1. Hi Nick, thanks for stopping by. I hope your training is going well. I’m always hesitant about articles such as this because I always feel its not my place to judge. Bodybuilding has, in my view, completely lost sight of its roots. These athletes are, for me at least, victims of a sport that has a total disregard for its competitors.

      Also included your suggestions about the ages, my god its frightening how young they were!

  2. Lets acknowledge the “real bodybuilders” who preached bodybuilding not in its literal sense, but in its capacity to describe a life long commitment to health and fitness. Jack lalanne, Steve Reeves are ones that immediately come to mind. There are many others who didn’t sell there integrity or health for a self indulgent fantasy.

    1. Hi Brendan, I hope you’re having a good day. You’re singing from the same hymn sheet as me. Bodybuilding arose from a holistic concern with developing the body and its such a shame that’s been lost sight of.

      Look at what Lalanne was doing in his 80s for proof of what wholesome bodybuilding can do!

      1. Steve Reeves never took testosterone or anabolic steroids. No one in bodybuilding used anything until 1958. If you want to learn the history of PED’s in the strength sports, read Randy Roache’s book “ Muscle Smoke and Mirrors part 1.

      1. All of you stop jacking off to old school bodybuilders not being on gear.Steeve was a regular at York and the whole Olympic team by bob Hoffman was on gear because they found out that the Soviets were on gear.Steve trained for the universe at York and hadn’t trained in years and it was known that after 6 weeks he didn’t even look like the same guy and if you believe that someone who was not on drugs could beat Reg Park back in the day who was on a ton of gear then you probably believe the Colorado Experiment by Author Jones , was actually true that someone gained 63 pounds of muscle using Natilaus machines – I trained with Casey VIATOR in Fla right before he went to the Universe in London and I bought up THE COLORADO EXPERIMENT to Casey and he laughed and said it was bullshit made up just to sell Nautilus machines

      2. Hey Tiger – do you have any evidence for those claims? I’m always happy to hear another point of view once there is evidence for it. I’ve yet to hear about Reeves and steroids. He would have been filming Hercules around the time Zeiglar brought Dianabol to the US so please do get back to clear up why you think its the case

      3. It was all legal back then. It was considered a supplement like you would consider protein powder. You still had to work. Work hard. I think a combination of gear and the intense workouts everyday week to week shortened their lives. Imagine if you worked as hard for half your life everyday taxing your system. The work did it as well.

  3. Thanks Conor, enjoying the site very much. Your integrity and passion for the subject are very evident and very much appreciated.

    1. Working out intensly will not shorten your life , but POS steroids will kill you early and often , intense workouts will increase your longevity!!

    1. Hey Jake, that’s not a bad idea. I’ll have to do something on Rich in the near future as his videos were something else. I even tried his 8hr arm workouts at one point!

  4. Yes. Mike Matarazzo was quite a specimen.
    His nickname was very appropriate (BIG GUNS).

  5. Yes that’s some sad shit that Nasser is dead he was nice in his prime he was taking TRENBALONE ACETATE for too long and too much that shit is great. Makes you feel like you are superman but you got to cycle it the right way. That shit came out around that time when he was in. Everybody took that shit back then it made you big and cut at the same time. It was nice but you can’t take it for more than 30 to 50 days. Then you have to come of it for 30 days. This steroid is given to cow’s for 50 days before slaughter. The cows would gain mass before they were killed. But dont get me wrong all the other shit he was on played a part in his death.

    1. Hi Andrey – that is absolutely fascinating! Thank you for that insight. I’m admittedly very ignorant on what they took & how it made them feel. I’ll have to look into the agriculture link as that is terrifying!

  6. Showing peak-era pics of these guys makes it look like they died leaving a good-looking corpse. In many cases, this is NOT the case. Kovacs, for one,looked like dog-shit the last few years of his short life. Show us some pics of these guys during their last days, often in the hospital.

  7. The large amounts of steroids needed to achieve such mass, causes the body to cease production of cholesterol that the body uses to repair the arterial system. Sugar has the affect of inflaming the arterial system and the body produces cholesterol to reduce the inflammation, saturated fat has been demonized but we need it ie essential fatty acids, have you heard of an essential carb? The Eskimos live on Whale and Seal blubber and meat yet heart disease and diabetes is almost unheard of in their society. do some research on Ketosis you will be surprised!

  8. I think the biggest mistake is to assume that steroids were the only culprit here. While I do not advocate steroid use, there are many bodybuilders who used the appropriate amounts and for short periods of time that are still around.

    It is important to keep in mind that starting in the mid 80s and onwards, steroids became only one of the chemical agents used. In addition to anabolic steroids, the use of HgH, Insulin, exogenous T3/T4, clenbuterol, and various diuretics was ubiquitous.

    On top of the polypharmacy, the 6-10K calories per day of food intake resulted in what can only be described as mass monsters. If you are over 250 lbs, your life expectancy is drastically shortened, regardless if that mass weight is from muscle or fat. In fact, I would say that if that 250 lbs is mostly muscle, the body, especially the heart, has to work extra hard to perfuses that tissue, which eventually wears down the heart itself.

  9. Arnold and Franco used steroids. Arnold is still alive, but Franco passed away in 2020. Primobolan and dianabol used by Arnold.

    1. Hi Fred. You are indeed correct about previous generations using steroids. I think/fear that the drive for muscularity in recent years has made usage far more problematic from a health perspective

  10. Hi Fred. You are indeed correct about previous generations using steroids. I think/fear that the drive for muscularity in recent years has made usage far more problematic from a health perspective

  11. I always felt that professional bodybuilders are VERY UNBALANCED!!!
    I went from 50% bodybuilder/50% runner to 70% runner/20% swimmer and 10% bodybuilder.
    I believe that I will outlive people such as Lou Ferrigno and ARNOLD because or this!!
    I believe that I also enjoy a HIGH that is superior!!
    BTW: RE: Competitive running PRs for males 226 pounds+ 2.5KM 11:39 3KM 13:56 5KM 22:58 8KM 39:15 and 10KM 45:53.

  12. I was influenced by the likes of Casey Viator, Mike Mentzer, Vic Richards, The Barbarian Brothers, etc including famous entertainment wrestlers.
    They appeared as Gods or immortals (bigger than life), but when you hear such people dying young,… You suddenly realize that their genetics cannot overcome the abuse of overtraining, overeating & hormone abuse. I learned from them what not to do… I prefer Vince Girondas diet approach for gaining lean muscle mass.

  13. I was a competitive runner and made the EXACT same mistake that ARIELLE did!
    Unfortunately, I am suffering from permanent consequences.
    I have modified my exercise program substantially.
    Instead of 20 minute to two hour runs a day and one hour workouts in the gym, I am doing light weight lifting, running on the spot and exercises I learned at my retirement home for 33 minutes every day early in the morning.
    I combine that with long walks.
    I go get a MEDIUM ENDORPHIN HIGH rather than an EXTREME ENDORPHIN HIGH when I was competing.
    I was a GUINEA PIG for a company that tried to cut costs for janitorial position for a VERY LARGE AREA.
    MULTIPLE janitors should have been hired!
    I developed SEVERE TENNIS ELBOW after 10 months of work.
    The directions were VAGUE!
    APPLY THE CREAM AFTER THE EXERCISE AND COOLING DOWN PERIOD!!,brands%20that%20contain%20methyl%20salicylate.

  14. These guys were so determined to win these contests that they probably would do it again if they could.
    Steroid bodybuilding is an extreme suicidal sport. This is what happens when you separate exercise from overall health consciousness…. Phil Herndon could be added here as well…

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