Shawn Rhoden, the 2018 Mr. Olympia champion, died after reportedly suffering a heart attack. The bodybuilder was 46. When Rhoden won the title at age 43, he was the oldest champion in the bodybuilding competition's history. Rhoden also broke Phil Heath's seven-year winning streak.
Little is known about the circumstances of Rhoden's death, but sources close to him told Generation Iron he had a fatal heart attack. His close friends also confirmed on social media that he passed away. "I am shocked to hear of the passing of Mr. Olympia [Rhoden] It's very sad to hear of his passing," bodybuilder Rich Gaspari wrote on Instagram Saturday. "He had always been a gentleman towards me. Shawn had one of the most aesthetic physiques in bodybuilding. My condolences to his family."
Rhoden was an aspiring soccer player until he began his interest in bodybuilding in 1992. He struggled to get his career off the ground in amateur bodybuilding as he struggled with alcoholism. In 2010, he earned his International Federation of BodyBuilding & Fitness (IFBB) pro card and came in 11th place in his first Mr. Olympia competition. He played in the top five every year afterward until he finally won in 2018. Rhoden was also the focus of the 2019 documentary Flexation: Becoming Shawn Rhoden, which tracked his training for the 2018 Mr. Olympia championship.
In 2019, Rhoden was accused of sexually assaulting a female bodybuilder in a Salt Lake City hotel. The alleged incident took place in October 2018 and he was charged in July 2019. Rhoden was banned from the Mr. Olympia competition after the allegations came to light. IFBB, which governs the professional bodybuilding sport, said they would not take action until more information was available. Rhoden was never convicted of a crime.
After Rhoden's death was confirmed, members of the bodybuilding community and his fans offered their condolences. "I m shattered ... broken ... you've been not just a friend, but my idol. You told me you gonna attend my wedding one day, thought me posing, and cracked unlimited jokes... I m broken. No words. RIP my brother," Vinnié Râsū wrote. "Rest In Peace [Rhoden]. My condolences to his family, friends, and fans worldwide," This Is Bodybuilding writer Michael D. Bryson wrote on Instagram.