Cedric McMillan: Bodybuilding community rocked by third death in six months

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Bodybuilder Cedric McMillan has died just a year after taking time out because of a heart problem, according to his sponsor.

The New Jersey native is the third bodybuilder known to have died in the US in the last six months, raising concerns about the safety of the sport.

Announcing McMillan’s death on Tuesday, his longtime sponsor Black Skull USA posted an image of the New Jersey-born bodybuilder on Instagram with the words “RIP”.

“We regret to inform you that our friend and brother Cedric McMillan passed away today,” the sponsor said in a caption of the 44-year-old and former Arnold Classic winner.

“Cedric will be greatly missed as an athlete, comrade, friend, and father. Our prayers are with all his family and friends. He ‘fought the good fight’ and now he rests.”

His family and “close sources” later confirmed the news to bodybuilding news website Generation Iron, who noted that McMillan “was very open about his past heart issues”.

That included a “near death experience” that forced him to take a break from competing last year, including in the Legion Sports Fest Pro and the Arnold Classic competitions.

He said in an interview with Generation Iron in November 2021 that he ended-up on life support after contracting Covid in 2020 and later pneumonia, which caused him to experience “shortness of breath for quite some time”.

“Back in July I was almost dead,” he said in the interview. “I was in the hospital for about three weeks. I lost about 30 pounds. I was getting ready to go to the Arnold [Classic].”

Explaining how athletes often have an “enlarged heart” and that his illness was something to do with Covid making “protein levels spike in your heart”, the athlete added: “I spent all of August trying to gain weight back – ignoring the doctor’s advice. Then I spent about four weeks trying to get ready while I’m sick. That lets you know how damn crazy we are”.

His death on Tuesday reportedly happened while McMillan was running on a treadmill, the report said, although it remains unclear exactly what his cause of death was.

It is just the latest in a string of tragedies to hit the sport, following the recent deaths of Shawn Rhoden and George Peterson at the end of last year. Both at a young age.

The deaths remain a source of concern for bodybuilders, whose use of steroids have come scrutiny both inside and outside the world of bodybuilding.

Peterson, who died in October aged 37, was found to have died from a “sudden cardiac dysrhythmia due to hypertensive cardiovascular disease” and as TMZ Sports reported, “anabolic steroid use” was listed as a contributing factor to his death.

Rhoden’s death was from a heart attack, reports said of the 46-year-old’s death in November.