Matarazzo dies at 48
For the second time in less than two years, the bodybuilding world is mourning the loss of one of its top pros.
American Mike Matarazzo, one of the top guns of the 1990s, known for his bulging biceps and huge calves, pased away a few weeks ago at the age of 48 died in the ICU at Stanford hospital in California while awaiting a heart transplant.
Matarazzo was widely considered to be one of the most likable and personable pro bodybuilders in the sport. While he may not have had top placings at the prestigious bodybuilding contests, he was a fan favourite who capitalized on his popularity.
His last appearance in a professional bodybuilding event was the 2001 Mr Olympia, where he placed 21st.
He was forced to retire due to having open heart surgery in 2004 as a result of clogged arteries. It was the first of two surgeries and a heart attack that all occurred before Matarazzo reached the age of 40.
At the time of his death he was residing in Modesto, California, and was forced to stop working as a bail bondsman due to limitations on physical activity related to his 20 per cent heart function.
In March 2013, a contemporary of Matarazzo’s – Nasser El Sonbaty – died presumably of cardiac-related problems.
El Sonbaty had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and did not qualify as a candidate for a heart transplant. He was 47 years old.
Anytime a competitive bodybuilder dies prematurely before the age of 50, speculation over what may have caused or contributed to his death is inevitable.
Given the heavy use of anabolic steroids and other physique-enhancing drugs used by competitive bodybuilders, many people have wondered if anabolic steroids were to blame.
Matarazzo had long been open about his use of anabolic steroids, human growth hormone (hGH), diuretics and “anything and everything that we as bodybuilders do to achieve a certain look”.
Matarazzo made the ominous prediction that there would be many more former pro bodybuilders to experience serious cardiac problems once they reached their forties.
“Most guys think nothing will ever happen to them,” Matarazzo said. (MK)