Bodybuilder Tom Prince, the 1997 NPC Nationals Champion, Dies at 52 Years Old

The former NPC Nationals Champion succumbed to cancer, according to his friends.

Former IFBB Pro League bodybuilder Tom Prince died on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, at 52 years old. The former NPC Nationals winner faced numerous health issues over the last several years of his life; he was battling cancer at the time of his death. The specific type of cancer wasn’t revealed, and no official cause of death was confirmed when this article was published. Evolution of Bodybuilding was the first to report the news. Prince’s death was confirmed by fellow IFBB Pro, Mr. Olympia announcer, and Prince’s longtime friend Bob Cicherillo on Instagram.


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A post shared by Bob Cicherillo (@ifbbprobobchick)

“Tom Prince passed away early this morning with his wife Becca at his side,” Cicherillo wrote in part of the caption of his post. “Tommy Boy fought a great fight for many years, battling a host of health issues but ultimately, cancer was too much.”

Tom Prince’s Career

Tom Prince was born on October 26, 1969, in Virginia. According to Muscle Memory, Prince’s first major contest as an amateur was the 1995 NPC Nationals. He placed second in the heavyweight division to Overall champion Don Long. A year later, Prince sat in second place in the Heavyweight division to Jay Cutler. (The 1996 Overall title went to Willie Stallings.) Prince finished runner-up in the 1996 USA Championship — another prestigious and competitive show — to heavyweight winner and overall champion Craig Titus.

Two years into his amateur run, Prince broke through into the pro ranks by winning the Heavyweight and Overall titles at the 1997 NPC National Championship that year. He posed against notable names, such as Orville Burke, who finished as the runner-up, fifth-place finisher Dave Palumbo, and future pro Troy Alves.

Prince took the 1998 season off and made his debut at the Night of Champions a year later. He placed 13th overall. In 2000, Prince donned his posing trunks at the Iron Pro, finishing in ninth place, and then his one and only Arnold Classic, where he stood in 11th place. (Flex Wheeler won the Arnold that year.)

In 2001, Prince found the most success as a pro bodybuilder. He placed third to winner Orville Burke in that year’s Night of Champions contest, which qualified him for that year’s Olympia. He finished in 16th place at bodybuilding’s biggest contest, which Ronnie Coleman won. Then, Prince flew across the pond to compete at the Grand Prix England contest; he placed eight, and Kevin Levrone won. 

In 2002, Prince returned to the Night of Champions but placed seventh. Markus Ruhl took the top spot in that show. His last show was the Southwest Pro Cup, where he would take ninth place. First place was awarded to Darrem Charles. Later that year, Prince would suffer kidney problems, which led him to announce his retirement.

While Prince never tasted victory as a pro, he was prominently featured in the magazines during that era, and he was a fan favorite in the shows. He was also considered a friend to many in the sport, including Cicherillo, who named Prince the Godfather of his daughter prior to his death.

As of this writing, no further details on his death were made public. Prince is survived by his wife, Becca, and two children.

Featured Image: @ifbbprobobchick on Instagram