Top Bodybuilders, We Lost in 2023 – Joesthetics, Neil Currey, And More

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As we approach the conclusion of 2023, the bodybuilding community reflects on the year with mixed emotions.

While new talents emerged, the industry also bid farewell to bodybuilders whose impact will be forever etched in our memories.

The ebb and flow of life bring both joy and sorrow and as we navigate the complexities of existence, we mourn the loss of these beloved figures who have left an indelible mark on the fitness and bodybuilding world.

How Many Bodybuilders Died in 2023?

In 2023, the bodybuilding and fitness community bid farewell to 27 esteemed individuals, each leaving an indelible mark on the industry.

Among them were Eric Fleishman, recognized for his commitment to wellness, and Murat Gonul, whose passion for fitness inspired many. Amy Richardson, Leo Longevity, and Lee Banks, with their unique approaches, contributed significantly to the field.

The passing of Tonya Knight, Kurt Marnul, and Dawn Whitham marked the end of an era for bodybuilding enthusiasts. The list continues with Ed Fury, a notable figure in the fitness world, and the legendary WWE superstar, Billy Graham. Mike Quinn, Daniel Quattlebaum, and Jo Lindner, among others, also left a void with their departures.

Each of these individuals played a vital role in shaping the landscape of bodybuilding, and their legacies will undoubtedly endure in the hearts of those they inspired.

Joe Lindner AKA Joesthetics

jo lindner rip
via joesthetics instagram

The fitness and bodybuilding community mourns the untimely loss of Joe Lindner, widely known as Joesthetics

Hailing from Germany, Joe Lindner made a significant impact with his disciplined approach to fitness and an impressive physique that garnered admiration across the YouTube fitness community.

At the young age of 30, Joe Lindner’s career was thriving, and he stood at the forefront of the fitness influencer scene. 

His dedication to pushing the limits in the gym was evident in the outstanding results he achieved.

However, tragedy struck unexpectedly when Joe Lindner, in a shocking turn of events, passed away from an aneurysm. 

The news sent shockwaves through the fitness and bodybuilding community, leaving many in disbelief. 

Joe Lindner had complained of neck pain a few days prior, but tragically, the severity of the situation went unnoticed.

Joe Lindner took his last breath lying in his girlfriend’s arms, marking the end of a promising career and leaving behind a void in the hearts of his followers. 

The German bodybuilder’s sudden departure serves as a poignant reminder of the fragility of life, even for those who appear at the pinnacle of health.

In paying tribute to Joe Lindner, we remember not just the disciplined bodybuilder and fitness influencer but the person who inspired many on their fitness journeys. 

His legacy will endure through the memories of his incredible achievements and the positive impact he had on the community.

As the fitness world reflects on the passing of Joe Lindner, we extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and the countless individuals he motivated with his fitness journey. 

May he rest in peace, and may his story continue to inspire those who follow in his footsteps.

Neil Currey

neil currey bodybuilder wikipedia
via neil currey instagram

The bodybuilding community mourns the tragic loss of Neil Currey, a 34-year-old Classic Physique competitor, who took his own life in September 2023.

Neil Currey, a promising athlete, made his professional bodybuilding debut in 2019 and quickly rose through the ranks.

His breakthrough came in 2022 when he secured the first professional win of his career at the New York Pro, earning him a spot at the prestigious 2022 Olympia.

Despite finishing 16th, his qualification marked a significant achievement in his burgeoning career.

Neil Currey’s rapid progress in the Classic Physique division had captivated the attention of experts, and many were eager to witness his continued growth and success. 

However, the bodybuilding world was left in shock and sorrow at the news of his untimely demise.

As we remember Neil Currey, we reflect not just on his accomplishments in the competitive arena but on the struggles he faced.

His passing serves as a stark reminder of the importance of mental health awareness and support within the bodybuilding community.

In honoring Neil Currey’s memory, we extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and the entire bodybuilding community profoundly affected by this loss. 

May his legacy remind us to prioritize the well-being of our fellow athletes and offer support to those facing personal battles. May Neil Currey rest in peace.

Gustavo Badell, ‘The Freakin Rican’

gustavo badell vs ronnie coleman
via gustavo badell instagram

The bodybuilding world mourns the loss of Gustavo Badell, a formidable competitor known by the moniker ‘The Freakin Rican.’

Gustavo Badell, a prominent figure in the 2000s era of bodybuilding, faced off against legends like Jay Cutler and Ronnie Coleman

His standout moment came at the 2005 Olympia, where he showcased his prowess by defeating both Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler in the challenge rounds.

Throughout his illustrious career, Gustavo Badell secured victories in several prestigious pro shows, including the 2006 Iron Man Pro Invitational, the 2006 San Francisco Pro Invitational, and the 2009 Atlantic City Pro.

Following a 13th-place finish at the 2012 Arnold Classic, Gustavo Badell decided to conclude his remarkable journey in the bodybuilding world.

In a saddening turn of events, it was reported in July 2023 that Gustavo Badell passed away at the age of 50. 

The bodybuilding community was informed that he had been grappling with a kidney ailment and had undergone an organ transplant. However, the exact cause of his death remains unclear.

Nick Trigili of Bodybuilding and BS revealed that Gustavo Badell was in the process of bulking up at the time of his passing, adding a poignant layer to his legacy. 

The circumstances surrounding his death serve as a somber reminder of the challenges athletes face both in and out of competition.

As we pay tribute to Gustavo Badell, ‘The Freakin Rican,’ we remember not only his victories on the stage but also the resilience he displayed throughout his career.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, and the entire bodybuilding community affected by this loss. May Gustavo Badell rest in peace.

‘Mighty Mike’ Quinn: A Maverick in Bodybuilding

mike quinn bodybuilder
via mike quinn instagram

The bodybuilding community bids farewell to ‘Mighty Mike’ Quinn, an iconic figure from the 1980s and 1990s. 

Quinn, with his freakish physique and charismatic personality, quickly rose to fame, earning a dedicated fan base, particularly for his massive arms. 

Often referred to as the “bad boy” of the sport, Quinn was known for sharing unfiltered opinions on sensitive topics, including steroid use in bodybuilding.

Quinn’s noteworthy achievement on the prestigious Olympia stage was in 1988, where he secured a fifth-place finish in the Men’s Open division. 

His presence and impact on the bodybuilding scene extended beyond his competition accolades he was a maverick who left an indelible mark on the sport.

On May 30, 2023, Mike Quinn’s sister, Kellie Quinn, sadly reported his passing after a prolonged illness. 

At the age of 61, Mike Quinn leaves behind a legacy that transcends the stage, encompassing both his unique physique and his candid expressions on the sport he loved.

As we reflect on the life of ‘Mighty Mike’ Quinn, we remember the trailblazer who dared to be different, challenging norms and sparking conversations within the bodybuilding community. 

Our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends, and all those who admired and were inspired by the bad boy of bodybuilding. May ‘Mighty Mike’ Quinn rest in peace.

Lee Banks, A True Force in Bodybuilding

lee banks bodybuilder age
via lee banks instagram

The bodybuilding community mourns the loss of Lee Banks, a formidable figure in the sport whose legacy extends beyond the stage. 

Lee Banks embarked on his bodybuilding journey in 2002, showcasing his dedication and passion for the discipline. His competitive career spanned nearly two decades, with his last competition in 2019.

Commencing as a Men’s Open division competitor, Lee Banks transitioned to the Classic Physique division in 2017, leaving an indelible mark on the competitive scene.

His notable achievements include a runner-up finish at the 2017 Chicago Pro and a remarkable top-ten placement at the 2017 Olympia.

Beyond his contributions to bodybuilding, Lee Banks excelled as a businessman, serving as the owner of a thriving business studio. 

His entrepreneurial spirit shone through, and he also played a pivotal role as a promoter for the ‘Natural Gym Association.’ 

Lee Banks was actively involved in organizing an event scheduled for May 2023, demonstrating his commitment to the fitness community.

Tragically, Lee Banks faced a formidable adversary in the form of a cancerous carcinoid tumor in the intestines. 

Despite his valiant fight against the disease, Lee Banks succumbed to its challenges on February 2, 2023.

In remembering Lee Banks, we honor not only his remarkable achievements in bodybuilding but also his resilience, business acumen, and dedication to fostering a positive fitness community. 

The impact of his loss reverberates through the industry, and our thoughts are with his family, friends, and all those who admired and respected Lee Banks.

May he rest in peace, leaving behind a legacy that inspires future generations in the world of bodybuilding.

Leo Rex

The fitness world mourns the untimely passing of Laith Abdullah Algaz, fondly known as Leo Rex in the YouTube fitness community. 

Leo Rex gained popularity through his channel, “Leo and Longevity,” where he shared insights on men’s health and performance longevity.

His well-researched takes and in-depth knowledge garnered respect within the fitness community.

In January 2023, a shocking incident shook Leo Rex’s circle as he was discovered lifeless in the bedroom of Tony Huge’s house in Pattaya Lagoon village, Thailand. 

Leo Rex’s house bore signs of intrusion, with items scattered around, adding a layer of mystery to his tragic death. 

The circumstances surrounding Leo Rex’s passing remain unresolved, leaving friends, followers, and the fitness community grappling with unanswered questions.

Leo Rex’s impact extended beyond his YouTube channel, influencing many with his commitment to sharing valuable information on health and well-being. 

The absence of closure regarding the circumstances of his death adds to the somber nature of this loss.

As we remember Leo Rex, let us reflect on the positive contributions he made to the fitness community and express our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and those who admired his work. 

May his legacy inspire continued discussions on health and longevity in his absence.

Kurt Marnul

Kurt Marnul, a stalwart of the European bodybuilding scene in the 1950s and 1960s, left an indelible mark on the sport and the lives of many aspiring bodybuilders

His legacy is not only defined by his achievements but also by his contributions as a mentor and trainer.

In the early 1960s, Arnold Schwarzenegger, then a teenager venturing into the world of weightlifting, crossed paths with Kurt Marnul. 

Kurt Marnul’s guidance played a pivotal role in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s journey, leading him to victory in the 1966 FIHC Mr. Universe show

Despite Arnold Schwarzenegger’s subsequent rise to becoming one of the greatest bodybuilders in history, he consistently acknowledged Kurt Marnul as his first idol and trainer.

Apart from his influence on Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kurt Marnul’s impact reverberated through the Austrian National Bodybuilding Championship, where he clinched the title in 1962, 1963, and 1964.

Transitioning into a bodybuilding trainer, Kurt Marnul established his gym in 1958, becoming a hub for aspiring bodybuilders.

Beyond his accolades, Kurt Marnul’s role in shaping the early career of Arnold Schwarzenegger stands as a testament to his dedication to the sport. 

On February 8, 2023, Kurt Marnul bid farewell to the world, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire generations of bodybuilders

As we remember this pioneer in European bodybuilding, let us reflect on his contributions and the enduring impact he had on the sport and its enthusiasts.

Larissa Borges: A Bravery in Battle

larissa borges fitness
via larissa borges instagram

At the young age of 33, fitness influencer Larissa Borges faced a tragic end on August 28, 2023, following two episodes of cardiac arrest. 

Her family shared the heartbreaking news on social media, revealing that Larissa Borges suffered a heart attack while traveling in Gramado, leading to her hospitalization.

Despite a valiant week-long battle in a coma, a second heart attack proved fatal.

Larissa Borges, known for her influence in the fitness realm, leaves behind a legacy that inspired many.

Her untimely departure serves as a poignant reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of cherishing every moment.

Lisa Lyon: A Trailblazer for Women in Bodybuilding

In the same year, the fitness world also bid farewell to Lisa Lyon, a pioneering figure in women’s bodybuilding

Lisa Lyon, credited with instilling the spirit of bodybuilding in women during the 1970s, played a vital role in opening doors of opportunity for female athletes.

Distinctive in her approach, Lisa Lyon showcased an elite level of fitness while maintaining her femininity. 

Her physique, characterized by perfect proportions and aesthetic appeal, challenged stereotypes and inspired countless women to embrace the sport.

Lisa Lyon’s impact extended beyond her professional bodybuilding career. Despite battling pancreatic cancer, Lisa Lyon remained a symbol of strength and grace. 

On September 8, 2023, she peacefully passed away in hospice care at her San Fernando Valley home.

Shaun ‘Dinosaur’ Davis

shaun dinosaur davis bodybuilder
via shaun davis instagram

The bodybuilding world is mourning the loss of a true legend, Shaun ‘Dinosaur’ Davis, who passed away at the age of 57. 

While the cause of his death remains undisclosed, Shaun Davis leaves behind an enduring legacy that encompasses not only his impressive physique but also his charismatic personality.

The Remarkable Journey of Shaun ‘Dinosaur’ Davis

Affectionately known as ‘Dinosaur,’ Shaun Davis made an indelible mark on bodybuilding history through a career that showcased both physical prowess and engaging charisma. 

His chiseled upper body, sculpted six-pack, and amiable personality endeared him to fans around the globe.

News of his passing has sent shockwaves through the bodybuilding community, eliciting grief from friends, family, and admirers alike.

The Man Behind the Moniker: A Community Icon

In 1996, Shaun Davis earned the title of Mr. Universe, solidifying his status as a stalwart in the bodybuilding circuit. 

His list of accolades includes titles such as Mr. UK, Mr. Britain, Mr. Europe, and Mr. Pro Universe.

Beyond the spotlight, Shaun Davis played a pivotal role in elevating the profile of Long Eaton, earning respect and admiration in his community. 

Cllr Richard MacRae acknowledged his contribution, recognizing Shaun Davis’s role in putting Long Eaton on the map.

Health Struggles and Advocacy

In the latter part of his life, Shaun Davis candidly shared his battle with kidney issues, a challenge that arose after he retired from professional bodybuilding

Advocating for organ donation, he spent over three years on the transplant list before undergoing a successful kidney transplant in 2009.

His journey, marked by dialysis and transplantation, turned him into a vocal advocate for organ donations, encouraging others to register.

A Devastated Community Mourns

The news of Shaun Davis’s passing has deeply affected the bodybuilding community, with close friend Kuldeep Bhardwaj expressing his devastation. 

Bhardwaj paid tribute to Shaun Davis’s inspirational presence, reminiscing about their shared journey from school days through the highs of bodybuilding.

Shaun Davis’s untimely demise adds to recent losses in the bodybuilding world, compounding the grief felt by the community.

A Final Salute to a Legend

In the realm of bodybuilding, Shaun ‘Dinosaur’ Davis stood out not just for his muscular physique but also for his unwavering spirit and dedication. 

As the community mourns his passing, we extend our heartfelt condolences to his friends and family.

While Shaun Davis may have left the stage, his legacy as a bodybuilding icon will endure as a wellspring of inspiration for aspiring bodybuilders and fans alike.

In celebrating his life, we honor the indelible mark he left on the sport we hold dear.

Bodybuilder Deaths: A Growing Concern in the Community

The untimely deaths of young bodybuilders, including the tragic passing of talents like Joe Lindner, have become an escalating concern within the bodybuilding industry. 

shawn rhoden 2018 olympia
via shawn rhoden instagram

The losses of Cedric McMillan, 2018 Mr. Olympia Shawn Rhoden, and others intensify the apprehension surrounding the impact of the intense bodybuilding lifestyle, raising questions about its effects on long-term health and performance longevity.

The deaths of these athletes, whether directly linked to their demanding lifestyles or not, call for a more cautious and mindful approach to bodybuilding and fitness training.

A Call for Caution and Reflection

The string of tragic events prompts a necessary reflection on the toll that intense bodybuilding and fitness regimens may take on individuals. 

While the pursuit of physical excellence is commendable, it must be approached with a mindful awareness of the potential health implications.

Tikkay Khan extends heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the bodybuilders who passed away in 2023.

As we report on these unfortunate incidents, we aim to ensure that these athletes live on through the lasting legacies they’ve created in the bodybuilding community.

It’s a poignant reminder for everyone involved in the industry to prioritize holistic well-being and health in their fitness pursuits.

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Maqsood Ali
Maqsood Ali
Maqsood Ali is a freelance writer, proofreader, English tutor, editor, and content strategist. He has over 06 years of experience, specializing in health, fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle content. Before becoming a freelancer, Maqsood held part-time staff positions at various companies and agencies, including Faizi Homeopathic clinic. Maqsood became heavily involved in CrossFit and fitness after finishing his Master's degree in English at the University of Okara. You can find his work at Tikkaykhan, GetSixpackab, and other fitness and nutrition companies and media outlets.
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