Former NABBA Mr. Universe Bodybuilder Chet Yorton Dies At 81

The bodybuilding legend was 81 years old.

Two-time NABBA Mr. Universe bodybuilding champion Chet Yorton has died at the age of 81. Word of his passing had been rumored over the last week, but Yorton’s daughter, Shannan, confirmed the news of his death as well as her mother’s, Vicky, on her Facebook page on December 4th.

“November 21st, 2020 I lost both of my parents 2 weeks ago, on the same day. I am an only child and they were all I had in this world…

My mama was 78. Autopsy still pending. My dad was 81. Heart attack. My mom died first. My dad died later when he found my mom… he must have suffered such shock and sadness in finding her.”


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A post shared by Shannan Penna (@questcreator)

Yorton discovered training while recovering from a car accident when he was in high school. He was a competitive bodybuilder from 1960 to 1979. His most famous accolade came when he was victorious at the 1966 National Amateur Body Builders Association (NABBA) Mr. Universe amateur competition.

The reason is largely because of the man who placed second, Arnold Schwarzenegger. It would be the first of three times that Schwarzenegger was defeated in bodybuilding competitionSchwarzenegger took to Twitter to express his condolences:

“Chet Yorton was a legend. He beat me in the 1966 Mr. Universe when I was 19 and inspired me to be better, but he should be remembered for much more than that. He was a great father and he spread the message of health and fitness to millions. My thoughts are with his family.”


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A post shared by Shannan Penna (@questcreator)

He also won the International Federation of Bodybuilding (IFBB) Mr. America competition that same year. He not only won the heavyweight class, but took the overall title from another future Mr. Olympia winner, Frank Zane. During his career as a competitor, he would also appear on magazine covers and appeared in two films, “Muscle Beach Party” and “Don’t Make Waves”.

Yorton would also win the NABBA Mr. Universe professional title in 1975. That would be his final victory before retiring after the 1979 season. Shannan shared in another post that her father would continue to train well in his 70s.

He would promote bodybuilding and fitness in other avenues later in his career, including as a promoter. Orange County Bodybuilding hosts a contest every year with the winner receiving the Yorton Cup, which is named in Chet’s honor.

Shannan would follow in her father’s footsteps by embarking into the fitness industry, but made her own mark as a co-founder of Quest Nutrition.

BarBend extends their condolences to Shannan as well as Chet and Vicky’s friends and followers.

Featured Images: Instagram/questcreator