Former Mr. Olympia champion Shawn Rhoden, known by the nickname “Flexatron,” passed away on Nov. 6 at age 46 from a heart attack, according to a report by Generation Iron.
A Jamaican native, Rhoden was a modern bodybuilding legend best known for winning the prestigious Mr. Olympia professional men’s bodybuilding contest in 2018, after defeating Phil Heath, who had won seven consecutive prior titles. Rhoden became the oldest bodybuilder to claim the coveted title at 43 years old.
He joined bodybuilding in 1992 as an amateur and competed on and off throughout the years, facing several injuries. After his dad passed away in 2002, Rhoden became an alcoholic. He later returned to the sport and earned his International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness Pro card in 2010.
Rhoden’s final Instagram post was uploaded three days prior to the announcement of his death, captioned: “Brick by brick and patience it will take. See you on the other side.”
The fitness world has flooded social media with an outpouring of love for the late bodybuilder. The muscle and fitness fraternity extended their condolences to Rhoden’s loved ones and his fans around the world.
Rhoden’s longtime coach, Chris Aceto, and close friends paid tribute to him on Instagram early Monday.
“The best part of being in Shawn Rhoden’s inner circle is to bear witness to his desire, ability and need to validate others,” Aceto wrote to his 238,000 Instagram followers. “He uplifted everyone. For these and many other reasons I will miss an athlete who naturally became a genuine and dear friend.”
Rhoden is the fourth Mr. Olympia to have died among 16 winners dating back to 1965, according to Muscle and Fitness magazine.
After Rhoden returned to bodybuilding in 2010, he went on to compete in nearly 30 professional events over the following eight years, earning top-three finishes in approximately 70 percent of contests he entered.
The bodybuilder was charged in 2019 with allegedly sexually assaulting a female bodybuilder in a hotel room in Utah, in 2018. He pleaded not guilty. Rhoden was banned from future Mr. Olympia competitions after he was charged in July 2019. The expulsion was to be reconsidered following the case outcome. It is not clear how the rape case was judged.
Rhoden is survived by a young daughter, Cora Capri. He posted a photo of them on Instagram days before Halloween, showing her girl in a Batgirl costume as him in a mask.
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