T Nation

Mike Mentzer Dead?

There is an unconfirmed rumor floating around that Mentzer was found dead this morning by his brother Ray. As we all know, internet rumors usually aren’t true, but I heard this from a reliable guy that’s “in the know” about such things. The forum has also gotten a few posts about this from readers. Keep your ears open and let’s figure out whether this is true or not.

If anyone can tell me what city he is based from i might be able to pull it up. I work for a major News Company.

Mike Mentzer a bright, shining light extinguished too soon. We’ll miss ya Mike.

The sad news on Mentzer has been confirmed by many people, and is being discussed on all the boards, so I think it’s likely to be true. Mike had many demons chasing him for many years, unrelated to bodybuilding, including (reportedly) alcoholism and drug abuse in the past. Sad nonetheless. I fear he never got over his hosing at the 1980 Mr. Olympia and that contributed to his problems.

Did anyone have him in the Dead Pool?

I think/hope that it is not true. I haven’t seen it yet on any websites or news sites. Of course this is wishful thinking. The closest to proof has been gossip in Gold’s Gym and an alleged phone call to the Weider Co. Please let it not be true, because Mike Mentzer was/is really the bodybuilder everybody loved to hate.

I havent seen any confirmation but the possibility makes me think of how much Mike contributed to considerations of volume and intensity in weightlifting. I cant say I consciously did much HIT but I know that as a newbie I learnt alot about overtraining, recovery and stimulating growth from Mike’s theories (even though I shared the common light hearted scepticism toward the theories and their teachings). I also think that his teaching style, while being contraversial, was one of the reasons myself and many others were over a long period exposed to his theories which thereby made his contribution to the pursuit greater. In terms of any recent contraversies between Tmag and Mike, I recall that I very recently submitted a scathing post on the issue that Shugs or a moderator or someone at tmag I think very fortuitously rejected (if only for the sake of my conscience- thank you whoever did that). If he has passed, I will miss him.

If this rumor proves to be true, it is certainly times like this that we realize how silly some of antagonism towards others is. Mentzer, for all his sometimes outlandish training protocols and somewhat slavish devotion to the HIT system still genuinely cared about the iron game and helping trainees achieve their goals. Whether his philosophy of training ultimately proved to be flawed is besides the point – he was one of us. The disagreements he may have had with the “volume” approach and the balistic training methods are somewhat minor in importance when compared to a life which appears to have prematurely ended. I hope this rumnor proves to be just that and nothing more…

If true, it is a shame, people may of loved to dislike or pick on Mike because of his obsession with HIT and Ann Rand (sp), but nonetheless, he did contribute something to many people in his own way. If he contributed to anyone’s growth or even getting them to go to the gym and exercise, he made a difference.

Sadly, it appears that the rumor is true: (from the getbig site)

Monday morning, June 11, 2001, an e-mail was sent to me saying
that Mike Mentzer has passed away during the night. Ray, his
brother, who is also suffering from illnesses, found him. We do not
know what happened. All we know is that a great person in the
bodybuilding world has left us.

                                This was confirmed by Jim Manion, president of the NPC. All the
                                information that we know is that apparently Mike died of either a
                                heart attack or some type of heart complications.  That's all we
                                know for now. 

This isn’t necessarily intended to be posted; I’m just wondering if you’ve been able to get conclusive proof of his passing. Every report around is hearsay thus far - no first hand account. I’ve checked his website repeatedly and LATE last night it was updated with a standard quote/testimonial. I find it remarkable that someone working for him would post that if he had passed.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Mike on a couple of occasions when I first started training in '92 after I read an article in Flex, and his impression is still imprinted in me: do what is neccesary, nothing more. I still use that mind set although I am not a HITer anymore: I never go to failure, which would be more than neccesary for me. He was very articulate, spoke candidly about his career, and being the young guy I was, I didn’t know about the 80 Olympia controversy, and made a comment about him competing against Arnold. His reply: “It was a memorable experience.”

A professional being professional.
Rest In Peace.


I just got an email from Brian Johnston and it confirms the death of Mike Mentzer. I’m very sad about this since HIT took me out of frantic (over)training, thanks to Mike Mentzer. He opened many eyes, and I’m sure the critics were more aimed at his stubbornness than at his theories. Rest in peace Mike…