Bodybuilder George Peterson Has Reportedly Died at 37 Years Old

Mr. Olympia LLC posted the news of Peterson's death on Oct. 6, 2021.

Bodybuilder George Peterson has reportedly died, according to an announcement from Olympia LLC made on Oct. 6, 2021. Peterson’s cause of death is unknown and no statement has been released on any of his social media channels at the time this article was written. Peterson was preparing to compete in the Men’s 212 Division at the 2021 Mr. Olympia, scheduled for Oct. 7-10, in Orlando.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include details from Peterson’s coach and friend Justin Miller, who posted on Instagram two hours prior to this update. 


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A post shared by Mr. Olympia LLC (@mrolympiallc)

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“It is with great sadness that we report the unexpected passing of George Peterson, a champion on stage and off,” the Olympia’s post reads. “Our condolences go out to his family and all who respected and admired one of the kindest men we have ever known.”

Peterson was in Orlando, FL, set to take the stage in his second Olympia 212 contest. His Instagram stories were last updated in the early hours of Oct. 6. Peterson had not publically disclosed any health issues before his death.

Hours after the initial reports of Peterson’s death, his coach Justin Miller shared details on Instagram. According to Miller, Peterson felt physically and mentally strong the night of Oct. 5. The next morning, Miller went to the Amateur Olympia prejudging and after arriving back around noon EST, couldn’t get ahold of Peterson. Miller called a security guard to open Peterson’s room and they found him lying face down and “mostly cold.” 


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A post shared by Justin Miller 🇺🇸 (@astrongspirit)

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After dialing 911, Miller performed chest compressions until security took over and started CPR. According to Miller, the EMTs said Peterson passed hours earlier. 

About George Peterson

A native of New York, Peterson, known as “Da Bull,” rose to prominence in the Classic Physique division. He earned his IFBB Pro card by winning the 2016 NPC Nationals in that division, and he debuted as a pro the following season.

Peterson’s first professional victory was at the Tampa Pro in 2017, and he went on to place third in the Classic Physique Olympia that same year. After a second straight top-three Olympia finish in 2018, he entered and won the 2019 Arnold Classic Physique contest in Columbus, OH. Once again, Peterson finished in an impressive third place at the 2019 Olympia.


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A post shared by IFBB PRO George Peterson III (@georgep_dabull)

After the 2019 season, Peterson announced that he was moving up to the 212 division as he struggled to make weight in Classic Physique. He began his career in the new division the same way he started his career in the previous one — by winning the 2020 Tampa Pro. He also finished his first season in 212 the same way he finished in Classic Physique, by placing third at the Olympia. The 2020 O title was won by Shaun Clarida.

Peterson sat out the 2021 season to prepare for the Olympia — which he qualified for by being in the top five of his division at the 2020 Olympia — taking place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida Oct. 7-10. The 2021 Olympia would have been Peterson’s fifth straight Olympia appearance.

The Community Reacts

As the news of Peterson’s passing broke, fellow competitors and media members posted on the Olympia’s post and on their own Instagram accounts to share their condolences. 

Derek Lunsford, 212 Olympia competitor

“My heart is so broken right now… I love you, brother. I’m praying for all family and loved ones”

Dave Palumbo, RxMuscle

“I send all my prayers and healing energy out to his family This is a tragic loss of a young man in the prime of his life He will always hold a place in my heart for the good man that he was. RIP my friend!”

Sadik Hadzovic, 2015 Arnold Classic Men’s Physique Champion

“I am very saddened by the loss of a friend today. I don’t have the right words to say but I know something needs to change. Rest in peace, George. My condolences to his friends and family. We will miss you greatly.” 

The Arnold Sports Festival

“Our entire team at the Arnold Sports Festival is profoundly saddened to learn of the passing of professional bodybuilder George Peterson. We would like to extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fellow competitors during this incredibly difficult time.”

Chris Bumstead, two-time Classic Physique Olympia winner

“I’m in shock. George was an absolute legend. I was always grateful to share the stage with such a great man.”

Shaun Clarida, 2020 212 Olympia winner

Absolutely in shock by this. Such a great guy gone too soon. My prayers go out to his close friends and family during this rough time. We’ll miss you champ.”

BarBend will update this article as more information about Peterson’s death is made available.

Featured Image: @georgep_dabull on Instagram | Photo by Ricky Lats (@new_england_muscle_media on Instagram)