RIP 2023

The bodybuilding industry witnessed the deaths of several pro-bodybuilders in 2023. In this article, I have listed the notable figures and personalities who will always be complimented in the bodybuilding realm.

Remember us for we've lived, laughed and loved

The year 2023 has passed with several highs and lows in the bodybuilding and sports divisions. The famous personalities have left their fans and followers gloomy, as they inspired them with their strong spirit and passion for sports. These pioneers encouraged billions of people to opt for their passion for bodybuilding through their sculpted bodies and strict fitness regimens.

There has been a momentous turnover in the bodybuilding industry; however, new talent has emerged to carry on the fire. Unfortunately, though, some of our favorite pioneers will only ever exist in our minds.

Lee Banks passed away at 51

Lee Banks

On February 2nd, IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Lee Banks passed away after a long fight with intestinal cancer. At the age of 51, he passed away at Jacksonville, Florida's Mayo Clinic & Hospital.

He was a professional bodybuilder and successful businessman with over 3500 Instagram followers. Additionally, he was a promoter of the ‘Natural Gym Association’ and was working on an event that was scheduled to take place in May 2023.

Lee Bank’s Competition History

Lee Banks initiated his career as a bodybuilder in 2002 and continued consistently until 2019. He started as a Men’s Open division competitor and was engaged in numerous pro shows. His efforts were visible in 2017’s Classic Physique Division, he acquired the 3rd position in IFBB Chicago Pro, the 2nd position in IFBB Karina Nascimento Pro, the 4th position in IFBB New York Pro and the 3rd position in IFBB Pittsburgh Pro. Later, he was ranked in the 15th position in the IFBB Arnold Classic and his last appearance was in the IFBB Atlantic Coast Pro, where he gained a big victory in the 2nd position.

Kurt Marnul passed away at 93

Kurt Marnul

The well-known Austrian bodybuilder Kurt Marnul passed away on February 9, 2023. Known for his expertise in bodybuilding, Marnul was the first and most influential trainer for Arnold Schwarzenegger when the actor started bodybuilding.

Kurt Marnul Bodybuilding Career History

This veteran bodybuilder was a high and mighty representative of the European bodybuilding scene from 1950 to 1960. Kurt Marnul, a bodybuilder, became the Austrian National Bodybuilding Champion in 1962, 1963, and 1964. He started his gym in 1958 and trained Arnold Schwarzenegger in the early years of his evolution. Under Marnul’s supervision, Arnold won the 1966 FIHC Mr. Universe show. As one of the best bodybuilders of all time, Arnold Schwarzenegger always acknowledged Kurt Marnul as his first trainer and mentor.

Jo Linder, a.k.a. Joesthetics, passed away at 30


The topliner German bodybuilder and fitness influencer Jo Linder, also known as Joesthetics, tragically passed away from an aneurysm on June 30, 2023. He was admired for pushing boundaries in the gym. The results of his efforts, consistency, and self-discipline in the fitness community were very visible to his followers through his awe-inspiring physique.

Jo Linder’s Competition History

At 30 years of age, Lindner’s career was flourishing, and he got into the spotlight of the fitness community with over 9.3 million Instagram followers. But unfortunately, Joe passed away too soon before making a more significant contribution to the bodybuilding industry. It was a massive shock and a great loss to the fitness and bodybuilding community. Jo Linder was a great inspiration for the young generation, as he helped them in their fitness journey through his distinctive knowledge and consistency. He will without a doubt leave a mark in the history books of famous bodybuilders and their inspiring stories.

Gustavo Badell passed away at age 50

Gustavo Badell

The bodybuilding community was left heartbroken once again following the demise of veteran bodybuilder Gustavo Badell, also known as The Freaking Rican. He passed away on July 30, 2023, due to a fatal stroke at the age of 50. It was reported that he was also fighting with a kidney problem, though he didn’t give up on his bodybuilding career.

Gustavo Badell Competition History

In 2002, he appeared at Mr. Olympia for the first time, securing the 24th position, after which he kept on competing professionally on various platforms. The most dazzling performance of Badell’s pro career came at the 2005 Olympia, when he defeated both Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler in the challenge rounds. Moreover, apart from that big victory, he won numerous shows like the 2006 Iron Man Pro Invitational, the 2006 San Francisco Pro Invitational and the 2009 Atlantic City Pro. His last appearance in his pro career was seen in the 2012 Arnold Classic, where he finished in 13th place.

Lisa Lyon passed away at 70

Lisa Lyon

Women’s bodybuilding pioneer Lisa Lyon also bid farewell to the world on September 8, 2023, due to pancreatic cancer. Lyon is credited for ingraining the spirit of bodybuilding in women, she was a great motivation for female bodybuilders as she opened a big door of opportunities for women in the 1970s.

Lisa Lyon’s Competition History

Lisa Lyon was an exceptional female bodybuilder in the sense that she displayed an elite level of fitness without compromising her femininity. She maintained the perfect proportions and aesthetic appeal that accentuated a woman’s beauty. In 1979, Lisa won the first-ever International Federation of Bodybuilders Woman's World Pro Bodybuilding Championship. She was honored for her accomplishments in the sport in 2000 when she was inducted into the International Fitness and Bodybuilding Hall of Fame. Although she did not have a strong professional bodybuilding career, Lyon made a significant impact on the minds of women willing to opt for bodybuilding as their profession and played a considerable role in turning them towards the sport.

Neil Currey passed away at 34

Neil Currey

The 34-year-old British former athlete and fitness enthusiast, Neil Currey, died by taking his own life on September 15, 2023. The real cause behind his death was a prolonged battle with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder); however, he consistently fought to build his career in bodybuilding.  

Neil Currey competition history

Neil Currey was rapidly growing in his career and growth in bodybuilding that intrigued the experts. In 2019, he professionally competed in the Classic Physique division. Later in 2022, he secured the first pro win of his career at New York Pro. This led him to secure the 2022 Olympia qualification where he was ranked 16th. It was his peak time but unfortunately, the death sent the bodybuilding world into a shock.

Leo Rex passed away at 34

Leo Rex with Bob Sapp

Laith Abdallah Algaz, also known as Leo Rex, was found dead on Monday, January 30, 2023, in Pattaya Lagoon village in Thailand. His YouTube channel ‘Leo and Longevity’ had over 123,000 subscribers. He became prominent through his YouTube channel, on which he posted content related to men’s health and performance longevity. He used to portray himself as the 'foremost expert in penis enlargement' through his well-researched and in-depth content.

Leo’s house was ransacked, and authorities reported that his house was messed up upon arrival. He was found face down, naked save for a black shirt, with a bruise on his left eye and blood seeping from his mouth and nose. This was surely a mysterious death, as there is still uncertainty over who might have been involved or the precise cause of his passing.

Tonya Knight passed away at 56


A well-known female bodybuilder of the 1980s, Tonya Knight, who was admired for her distinctive posting, well-balanced physique, and great conditioning, passed away on February 7th, 2023.

Tonya Knight Competition History

Tonya was an American Champion Bodybuilder who competed professionally for a little over half a decade and still left a legacy in the sport. She had over 5000 followers on Instagram who cherished her legacy. Her appearance was noticed in 1988 Ms. Olympia and 1989 Ms. International Competition but both results were overturned due to a breach of drug testing protocol on her behalf. However, later in the year 1991, Tonya Knight recaptured the Ms. International crown without any controversy. She retired in 1993, yet she continued to contribute to the bodybuilding industry by emerging in the American TV Series: The American Gladiators along with Mike O’Hearn.

The real cause of her death was her prolonged battle with cancer. During her prime, the former Ms. International champion competed against some of the best female bodybuilders of that era, including Anja Schreiner and Cory Everson.

Bodybuilders who Passed Away in 2023 - RIP

Below is the complete list of notable bodybuilders and fitness industry professionals who passed away in 2023

S. no Bodybuilder Name
1 Eric Fleishman
2 Murat Gonul
3 Amy Richardson
4 Leo Longevity
5 Lee Banks
6 Kurt Marnul
7 Dawn Whitham
8 Ed Fury
9 Billy Graham (WWE superstar)
10 Mike Quinn
11 Daniel Quattlebaum
12 Jo Lindner
13 Don Reinhoudt
14 Catalin Stefanescu
15 Gustavo Badell
16 Ashish Sakharkar
17 Justin Vicky
18 Larissa Borges
19 Ahmo Hight
20 Lisa Lyon
21 Neil Currey
22 Christian Figueiredo
23 Eustacio Batista
24 Raechelle Chase
25 Luis Manuel Lomeli


Tragic and untimely deaths of renowned bodybuilders at a young age are becoming an increasing concern in the bodybuilding industry. The dread was intensified last year by the deaths of Cedric McMillan and Shawn Rhoden, the 2018 Mr. Olympia, and the untimely losses of rising talent like Joe Lindner have further fueled the flames.

All these veteran bodybuilders have left a legacy by inspiring young talents willing to take part in this industry. Their stories and consistency, regardless of their battles with their health conditions, have motivated fitness enthusiasts to never give up.

SteroidWiki gives deep sympathy for the departure of such professional and impactful bodybuilders to their friends and families. We will ensure that their enduring legacies continue to live on through our journalism. Even though these stalwarts of bodybuilding left their fans in mourning, their legacy will continue to last forever. The fitness community will remember these names even as the time pass.

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