Bodybuilding Icon Reflects on Saddening Last Memories With Rich Piana: “That Was Just the Worst Week”

Published 04/02/2024, 7:15 AM EDT

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Bodybuilding giant Craig Golias has never competed on the bodybuilding stage. However, in the past when the bodybuilder was preparing to film a video with Rich Piana, disaster struck. Within a week, the social media bodybuilding icon lost three friends. Golias, who is among the heaviest bodybuilders in the world, was planning to get into the most shredded shape of his life when Piana died.

The 350 lbs bodybuilder appeared on Trensparent with Nyle Nayga. During their conversation, Golias revealed how Rich Piana suggested he try and qualify for the Olympia. Despite being a mass monster, Piana could not live his Olympia dream. However, he thought Golias might. Yet, as Craig Golias prepared to start training, the bodybuilding world came to a shattering halt.

“Give me eight weeks and we’ll do this video… I was going to start the next day… four or five days later he (Rich Piana) passed away,” Golias Told Nayga. The news devasted Craig Golias, who was already grieving. “Dallas passed away within two days of that and then my dog died,” revealed the bodybuilding star. “That was just the worst week ever. I was losing my mind!” added Golias.


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At 21, Dallas McCarver became the youngest IFBB North American Bodybuilding Championship winner. The budding champion was suspected of having choked to death in his Boca Raton, Florida, hotel room on 22 Aug 2017. Two days later, Rich Piana suddenly met his demise in Clearwater, Florida, on 25 Aug 2017.

As if the pain of losing McCarver and Piana wasn’t enough, Golias’s beloved pet died that same week. The bodybuilding influencer also told Nayga what happened on social media following Piana and Carver’s death. Some people repeatedly commented, “Your next Craig, you’re next,” on his posts as a cruel joke. However, Aug 2017 shook the bodybuilding community to its core.


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The deadliest week in bodybuilding

The last ten years saw an escalation in bodybuilders meeting their untimely demise. 2018 Mr. Olympia champion Shawn Rhoden died of a heart attack on 6 Nov, 2021, at 46. 2017 Arnold Classic champion Cedric McMillan also died due to a heart attack on 12 Apr 2022 at 44. However, in August 2017, the bodybuilding world lost two shining stars within days of one another.

While Dallas McCarver was the young champion with a bright future, Rich Piana was an experienced veteran. Both commanded a fan base of millions. Piana even cautioned people not to make his mistakes as a young bodybuilder. Losing them devasted fans both old and new.


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Renowned bodybuilding journalist Peter McGough said he had never before seen the “groundswell of sorrow” that he saw for “Dallas’s demise” in his 40-year career. While Craig Golias dealt with the added shock of his dog’s passing alongside the death of these bodybuilding greats, the entire bodybuilding world mourned with him.


Written by:

Sagnik Bagchi


One take at a time

Sagnik Bagchi is a senior bodybuilding writer at EssentiallySports. A passionate fitness enthusiast himself, Sagnik uses his knowledge of bodybuilding to focus on the coverage of major events like the Mr. Olympia and Arnold Classic.
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Edited by:

Abhishek Manikandan