On September 28th, weightlifter and bodybuilder Jon North suffered a cardiac arrest. The 30 year old North — the 2011 USA Weightlifting National Champion and multi-tim Pan American team member — rose to prominence as part of the California Strength team. His prolific social media postings and blog writing ultimately culminated in his first book — The Dark Orchestra — and expanded his fan base across the U.S.
Several days later, Jon’s wife Jessica Lee North — herself a weightlifter and physique competitor — began sharing updates on her husband’s condition. The day after Jon entered the hospital, Lee North said:
He has no memory of yesterday. He is more coherent today and mentally aware, and he remembers most of what people say which is a big improvement from yesterday when he asked the same questions over and over for hours.
Now, it appears the North family has a bit more information regarding Jon’s condition and some initial insight from the medical team into the causes.
Update on Jon: We have had quite the emotional morning. Results came back from the MRI. It is not 100% definitive until they complete genetic testing, but it looks as though Jon may have a hereditary heart disease. His heart is extremely thick and structurally abnormal, plus the electrical conduction between the top of his heart and the bottom are not communicating correctly or completely. They are going to be implanting a defibrillator into him to shock his heart back to rhythm if this happens again. It is a device that will go into his body and he will have for the rest of his life. It is a lot to process and definitely not the news we were hoping for, although we have faith that God helped the doctors catch this now. It is in our prayers that with this device and other treatment, he can live a very long and still active life. The biggest shock of all today and the hardest to hear was that with Jon’s current heart condition and the ventricular tachycardia then cardiac arrest he sustained, the doctors said there was only a 10% chance that he is still alive, and less than that for him to have full movement and brain function. I am still thanking God every second that he saved Jon.
Jon has been a polarizing figure in some weightlifting circles over the years. However, the outpouring of support from the weightlifting community has been overwhelmingly positive.
We — and we’re sure many others in the U.S. and abroad — are wishing Jon and his family a speedy recovery.
Featured image: @attitudenation on Instagram