Peter McGough, a journalist who was heralded by athletes and fans in the bodybuilding community, passed away after an eight-year-long battle with cancer on Dec. 29, 2020, at 71 years old. His work in the bodybuilding space goes back over four decades and across two continents. Chief Olympia Officer Dan Solomon shared the news of McGough’s passing on Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
“He was an artist. The pages were his canvas, he painted with his words. The greatest storyteller I’ve ever known,” Solomon wrote on his Instagram post. “Peter McGough left us yesterday, but his legacy lives on through the lives he touched, the lessons he taught, and his beautiful wife, Anne. He was a mentor and a genius, a discovery of Joe Weider, but more importantly, he was my friend….and I’ll miss him so much.”
Originally from Corby, England, McGough became a fan of bodybuilding as a teenager. His first direct experience in the sport came when he attended a seminar in 1971 that was hosted by then-Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger. His fandom grew as the years passed. McGough began writing about bodybuilding in the 1980s as a freelancer for various muscle magazines. From 1985 to 1989, McGough co-published Muscle & Co. and penned numerous pieces. During this time, McGough is credited with helping discover a young British bodybuilder who would go on to win six Mr. Olympia titles in the 1990’s: Dorian Yates.
In 1991, McGough and Anne Byron — his partner who would become his wife — began another publication called Pumping Press, a newspaper for bodybuilding. After just nine issues, the publication would cease, but only because Joe Weider hired McGough in 1992 to work for him and his empire of bodybuilding publications, namely, FLEX and Muscle & Fitness. Armed with an unshakable passion for bodybuilding, a quick wit, and an evocative writing style, McGough rose from the rank of Senior Writer to Editor-in-Chief of FLEX to the Editorial Director of FLEX, Muscle & Fitness Hers, and Muscle & Fitness.
View this post on Instagram
In 2012, McGough made headlines himself when he transitioned to FLEX‘s rival publication Muscular Development. He briefly also wrote for MuscleMag in between. In 2013, McGough was diagnosed with stage four cancer. In 2017, McGough left Muscular Development but occasionally freelanced for several publications, including FLEX until they merged with Muscle & Fitness in 2018. He would stay on with M&F until they ceased publication in print in 2020. His struggle with cancer was acknowledged onstage by host Bob Cicherillo at the 2020 Mr. Olympia finals.
McGough is survived by his wife, Anne, and is remembered throughout the bodybuilding industry by his colleagues, friends, and competitors — including this writer who was a fan and eventual colleague of McGough’s. Everyone at BarBend offers their condolences McGough’s friends and family.
Featured image: @thebarbell_com on Instagram