Franco Columbu 2x Mr. Olympia Dead at 78!
The 2x Mr. Olympia, World’s Strongest Man competitor, and champion Powerlifter, Franco Columbu has reportedly died in a boating accident at seas at the coast of San Teodoro, Italy.
There are little to none details at this point, but what is known that Franco’s death was caused by a boating accident. Italian news site unionesarda.it is reporting that after the yet to be disclosed accident occurred, Franco was rushed to the hospital in San Teodoro where he passed away.
This, of course, has come as a shock to the entire bodybuilding community, especially to Arnold Schwarzenegger. The two were inseparable friends for nearly six decades and cherished their friendship all the way up until Franco’s tragic death.
Upon hearing the heartbreaking news, Arnold took to social media to express his sadness and gratitude for the loving memories. Here is only a brief paragraph from Arnold Schwarzenegger who lost his closes friend.
I am devastated today. But I am also so, so grateful for the 54 years of friendship and joy we shared. The pumps, the chess games, the construction work, the meals, the pranks, the life lessons – we did it all together. We grew and we learned and we loved. My life was more fun, more colorful, and more complete because of you.
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Franco, You’ve heard me say that I don’t like when people call me a self-made man. You’ve even heard me say that you’re part of the reason I could never accept that label. But I wanted you to know why. From the minute we met in Munich, you were my partner in crime. We pushed each other, we competed with each other, and we laughed at every moment along the way. When I finally got to America, I was alone. I’d left my family, my country, my whole life behind. So when I asked Joe Weider to bring you to train with me, it was because I knew I wasn’t the same without my best friend. I could thrive without money, without my parents, but I couldn’t thrive without you. I am devastated today. But I am also so, so grateful for the 54 years of friendship and joy we shared. The pumps, the chess games, the construction work, the meals, the pranks, the life lessons – we did it all together. We grew and we learned and we loved. My life was more fun, more colorful, and more complete because of you. I will always miss you. But I’ll also know that a part of you lives on in me, in Debbie, in Maria, and in the millions of people you inspired every day you lived. And I will be there for Maria and Debbie, so you can rest now with no worries. I love you Franco. I will always remember the joy you brought to my life, the advices you gave me, and the twinkle in your eye that never disappeared. You were my best friend. Love always, Arnold
Despite being short in stature and standing at 5 feet and 5 inches, Franco was known for having incredible strength. In his book “Coming on Strong” he details how Arnold dared him into picking up a Donkey and him carrying it with ease.
The feat was allegedly followed by Arnold yelling “look at my friend’s ass“. Franco competed in the very first World’s Strongest Man competition and came in 5th after getting injured. In the legendary movie, “Pumping Iron” Franco is seen easily picking up the back of a car while wearing casual evening clothes.
The fitness community is mourning his tragic passing on social media and here are merely a handful of mourns expressed by the people whose lives Franco touched.
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I did not want to believe the sad news about Franco’s passing today. He was so strong, so driven, so humble and if you got a chance to meet him he was so damn funny!!!! It was just this past March we were all chatting it up on stage at Arnold’s Sunday Seminar and the stories you shared were awesome and absolutely hilarious. Thank you for always motivating us through your actions of strength, honor and kindness. You were a healer also being a Doctor of Chiropractic as you helped so many people with their ailments which I had found most impressive aside from the heavy lifts you would perform. Your ability to achieve bodybuilding’s highest honors, yet compete as a strongman carrying a refrigerator on your back to get injured but show no fear of getting back up, get checked out and literally do an interview with CBS exemplified your Demi-God greatness!!! You will be terribly missed and never forgotten. I am in complete shock! May you Rest in Supreme Power and thank you again for your incredible impact on the world! My most sincere condolences. #FrancoColumbu #MrOlympia #Legend #Strongman #DrOfChiropractic #RIP #RestInPower
I am sad to get the news that by boyhood hero and bodybuilding icon francocolumbu has passed away at the age of 78.
He was one of the bodybuilders to inspire me being of shorter height and Italian. Franco had one of… https://t.co/iqCX0y1qM4
— Rich Gaspari (@RichGaspari) August 30, 2019
Deeply saddened by the passing of one of our greatest champions. Franco Columbu won the Mr. Olympia in 1976 and 1981 inspiring an entire generation. We’ll never forget you, Franco. pic.twitter.com/N93ItIh7cU
— Mr. Olympia LLC (@MrOlympiaLLC) August 30, 2019
The first chance we get, we will update this article with fresh and detailed information regarding the passing of the legend, Franco Columbu.