“Can Hear Him Calling Me an Idiot”: Still “Grieving” the Loss of His Best Friend, Arnold Schwarzenegger Makes an Emotional Confession

Published 07/01/2023, 8:44 AM EDT

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Bodybuilding icon, Arnold Schwarzenegger might have formed great bonds with famous personalities around the world, but no one can replace his best friend and late bodybuilder, Franco Columbu from his heart. After the athlete’s demise in 2019, Arnie has expressed his sadness in various public interviews. Similarly, in the recent edition of his newsletter, Arnold’s Pump Club, he once again cherished his friendship with the Italian athlete.

As part of Arnold’s Q&A, a member of the community asked him for advice on self-motivation under an intense scenario. The man had just lost his friend and was feeling low, thus, he confided in Arnie’s wisdom and asked for help. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s emotional response to tragic news


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According to the newsletter, the fan was struggling to keep himself motivated and self-driven. He had just lost his friend to a car accident and relied on the former athlete’s experience on the matter. “I just lost a friend…I was just wondering how do you keep motivated after losing someone even if you’re feeling down?” the question asked. 


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Therefore, the 75-year-old athlete traveled back in time to reminisce how his friend, Columbu lit up his life with his presence. However, after his demise, he had a tough time accepting the loss. “One thing that helps me is that I never think about it as losing someone. That doesn’t mean I don’t grieve,” the 6’2 icon revealed.

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Arnie shared that when Franco passed away, he cried but felt he did not “lose Franco.” The athlete believes his best friend is still with him every day. “I can hear him calling me an idiot and a criminal and lazy,” the champion noted. After his demise, the athlete did not want to train, but he knew the late Italian star wouldn’t want him to stop training just because he can’t train with his partner. Likewise, the pro once penned down a heartfelt note for his best buddy after his demise 4 years ago. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger credits Franco Columbu for his success

Soon after embarking on his bodybuilding journey, the Austrian Oak stumbled upon the late athlete, Columbu, in Munich in 1965. Their friendship took off from there and were inseparable ever since. So much so that Arnie even urged notable trainer, Joe Weider, to invite Columbu to the U.S. to train together. Therefore, after his demise, Arnie was heartbroken and dedicated an Instagram post to him with an elaborate note. 


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Marking him as his “partner in crime”, the IFBB legend claimed that he wouldn’t have been where he is now without his partner. “I knew I wasn’t the same without my best friend. I could thrive without money, without my parents, but I couldn’t thrive without you,” a part of his note read. 

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Schwarzenegger has persistently illustrated his unbreakable bond with his best friend. Even after years of his demise, he cherishes their friendship at every step of his life, from glancing at his chess table to training in the gym. A marvelous example of true brotherhood!


Written by:

Tiyasa Biswas


One take at a time

Tiyasa is a sports writer at EssentiallySports, with a keen focus on ice hockey. She is as fascinated by the speed of the ice hockey players as she is by the surges of the surfers in the high seas. Drawing inspiration from legendary figures like Wayne Gretzky, the iconic GOAT of the Edmonton Oilers, Tiyasa's writing reflects her admiration for the tenacity and grit displayed by athletes in the face of challenges.
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Edited by:

Parth Sharma