On Nov. 6, 2021, Ron Harris of Muscular Development posted a video to the outlet’s YouTube channel announcing the death of 2018 Mr. Olympia winner Shawn Rhoden. Rhoden was 46 years old. No cause of death has yet been revealed and details are minimal at the time of this article’s publication.
Rhoden is the fourth winner of the Mr. Olympia contest to pass away. Sergio Oliva Sr. died in 2012, Larry Scott passed away in 2014, and Franco Columbu died in 2019. Rhoden’s death is the latest in a long string of notable competitors to have passed on in 2021. His comes less than one month after the passing of 212 bodybuilder George Peterson, III, who died during the week of the 2021 Olympia in Orlando, FL.
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According to Muscle Memory, Rhoden began competing in 1999 as an amateur. He won his pro card in 2009 at the IFBB North American event as a heavyweight. His pro debut was at the 2010 Europa Pro, where he placed 16th. He made his debut on the Olympia stage in 2011, where he placed 11th. His first pro win came at the 2012 Tampa Pro, which allowed him to compete in his first Olympia that year. He jumped eight placings to finish in third at that contest.
Throughout his career, he won seven professional contests. None was bigger than his 2018 Mr. Olympia effort which saw him defeat Phil Heath, who was attempting to tie the record for most Mr. Olympia titles (eight) with Lee Haney and Ronnie Coleman. Heath placed second in that contest. At the time of Rhoden’s victory, he was the oldest champion in the history of the competition, winning the title at the age of 43. He was two months older than the previous record holder, 1982 winner Chris Dickerson.
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Rhoden hadn’t competed since his 2018 Olympia victory over then-champion Heath due to facing charges of sexual assault. Those charges were still pending and a court date had yet to be set due to issues regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
In recent years, Rhoden lived in Las Vegas, NV, where he helped grow Muscle Beach Nutrition, a supplement company with which he was heavily involved. He also served as a mentor and coach to many competitors throughout the IFBB Pro League. Rhoden is survived by his daughter.
Featured Image: @flexatronrhoden on Instagram