The sports world is mourning the unexpected death of bodybuilder Rich Piana, who tragically passed away on August 25. Learn more about the respected athlete here.
1. Rich Piana died on August 25
Rich Piana was a popular and controversial bodybuilder who amassed a huge social media following from people who were fascinated by his insane workout routines. Rich died at the age of 46 on August 25 after being placed in a medically induced coma two weeks prior. His girlfriend, Chanel Jansen, was giving him a haircut at home when he collapsed and went unconscious. Chanel said she tried to catch him, but due to his massive state (around 300 pounds of mostly huge muscles), she couldn’t do it. His official cause of death has not been released at this time.
2. His mom was a bodybuilder, too
Rich got into the bodybuilding game because his mother was also a champion bodybuilder! She encouraged him to start lifting weights when he was just 11 years old, when he’d go with her to the gym to watch her train for competitions. He entered his first competition at 15, and though he didn’t place, he went on to train harder and win. He turned to steroids, as well, and placed 7th and 11th in national bodybuilding championships. He even became Mr. California at one point!
3. He was Mr. California
Rich won the coveted Mr. California bodybuilding championship in 1998. He won overall with a perfect score! He also came in first in the Sacramento Pro and the Border States Classic XXX Bodybuilding, Fitness and Figure Championships in 2009. He took 11th at the NPC USA Championships in 2003 and 7th in 1999. As if that weren’t impressive enough, he held a record bench press of 495 lbs, and a record squat of 585 lbs.
4. He admitted to using steroids
For years, people wondered how it was possible for someone to get into Rich’s size and shape. His fitness routine included eating a whopping nine meals a day and drinking multiple protein shakes. He finally admitted in 2016, though, that he had also been using anabolic steroids for the past 27 years. He felt no shame about it, and spoke openly about how it was sometimes necessary if someone wanted to become a bodybuilder. “If you have the choice to stay natural or do steroids, stay natural. There’s no reason to do steroids, you’re only hurting your body, you’re hurting yourself,” he explained in an April 2016 YouTube video. “If you want to become a professional bodybuilder, guess what – you’re probably going to have to f——’ do ‘em. You’re not going to have a choice.”
5. He was a businessman
Rich had a massive social media following, including 1.2 million followers on Instagram. He had several fitness-related businesses, and found tons of success showing fans how to get a body like his. He sold merchandise and nutritional supplements, and launched the “bigger by the day” challenge, which promised that those who followed his regimen would get into incredible shape within a month.
HollywoodLifers, our thoughts are with Rich’s loved ones during this difficult time.