T Nation

RIP Shawn Rhoden

"More sad news has hit the bodybuilding world in already tragic year – pro bodybuilder and former Mr. Olympia champion Shawn Rhoden has reportedly died of a heart attack. He was 46 years old. The pro bodybuilder was a modern legend in the sport who also faced serious controversy in the years after winning the Mr. Olympia in 2018.

Very little information has been revealed at the time of this writing. But sources close to Generation Iron have reported that Shawn Rhoden suffered a fatal heart attack. Rhoden’s trainer, Chris Aceto, has also confirmed to close friends that the bodybuilder had passed away. Posts on social media from fellow athletes, experts, and fans have begun to pour out Saturday morning for the late pro bodybuilder."


At this point, the whole “We don’t know if drugs caused XYZ” seems to be wishful thinking. We are seeing large parts of an entire generation of bodybuilders who did very similar things to push the limits dying early.

Take pause & be safe.


Kinda bumbed he never competed again.

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Me too. Shawn pretty much had the best genetics of any Pro open bodybuilder in recent years. I can’t imagine how many Olympia’s he could have won if circumstances in life went a little different. RIP to one of the greats.

Phil Hernon, Billy Smith, Matt Mendelhall, John Meadows, George Peterson. These are just the names I can remember that died this year. And now Shawn.

…A current top 5 global competitor in the sport. Imagine the uproar if this happened in basketball, tennis etc

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It’s the drugs

People need to stop blaming dieuretics, insulin, GH or any one particular variable

It’s … the … Drugs … Simple as that. If you aren’t comfortable adknowledging this, you’re probably in denial because you don’t want to admit your hobby is associated with fairly significant risks

I’m also sure weighing 300lbs factors in. But for the most part, it’s the drugs.



Serious question out of ignorance: are the drugs a lot harsher now? Or just more ubiquitous? It just seems like the golden era folks weren’t dying like this (nor were they the same size/ condition). I’ve heard steroid use was a big part of their world, too, but I’ll admit to not understanding anything more specific than the grand category “steroid”.

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re: Kobe

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We need to take into account that the mid-40’s is a critical age period for those predisposed to CAD.


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I was surprised to learn this myself, with my first (and almost last!) heart attack at 47.

I do wonder though, if pros much greater muscle mass, thickening of the heart muscle, thickening of blood, etc. would play a role in the mortality rate.

Guys in the pharma section used to rage about this subject, with their primary out being “There is no DIRECT link between steroid use and heart failure/death” but that’s a lot like arguing that a bullet wound doesn’t kill somebody, it’s all the bleeding.

It seems to me that with enough indirect mechanisms, the result is the same.


Always thought as an open bb, no one had the classic look combined with modern soze. RIP and best wishes to his family.

Or a chain smoker having a heart attack at 55, then saying smoking didn’t nearly kill me, my heart gave out!

Basically the story of my grandpa, chain smoker had a heart attack at 55 dead before he hit the floor.

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Yeah, people like to defend their dependencies, sometimes to the death.


I think if we thought hard enough we could make a list of bodybuilders from the 90’s who also died. Not sure it has really changed mate. Maybe today they are just pushing the envelope just a little too much.


That’s probably true. It’s not like I have a list in either case, but the names I remember are like Schwarzenegger, Platz, Zane and Draper, and they are still kicking. But then you could just as easily tell me so are Cutler, Coleman and Yates.


I was thinking of the 90’s when you said golden era, and without trying I could think of Mohammed Benaziza, Andreas Munzer, Mile Matarazzo

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Touché. I only recognize one of those names, so I’m not the best judge at all

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I’ve heard whispers that this was his third heart attack, though I can’t find it anywhere else. I can’t imagine continuing in BBing after 2 heart attacks.

I also can’t help to think that the stress of his legal situation wasn’t good for him. It’s also worth mention that he was at one point an alcoholic and I’m sure that didn’t help either.

Kali Muscle also just had a heart attack FTR.