Updated: Nov 17, 2020
Franco Columbu is an incredible athlete, and inspirational bodybuilder. The death of Franco Columbu was a shock to many, and he will be missed.
He was a top participant in the Mr. Olympia, and won overall twice, with three wins in just the lightweight category. This is an insane accomplishment, but sadly Franco is often overlooked when talking about the best bodybuilders.
In 1976, Franco won his first Mr. Olympia contest and the next year he decided to compete in the world strongest man contest. He came in 5th place, with all 4 people placing ahead of him weighing at least 100 more pounds than him.
Columbu was also an actor appearing in films such as The Terminator, Pumping Iron, and Conan the Barbarian. As you might of guessed, he was also great friends with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Franco was clearly a beast with an unstoppable drive, so it was incredibly sad to hear he died before his time.
What year did he die?
Franco Columbu before he died
Franco Columbu died August 30th, 2019. He was born in 1941, meaning he lived about 78 years. During this time he had an exciting, incredible life.
He was an actor, overall winner of Mr. Olympia twice, came 5th place in the world strongman contest, and became best friends with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He didn’t die to old age, but rather died to a freak accident. Nobody was expecting to see him in the obituaries, but sadly he was taken too soon.
Arnold was devastated, along with many other bodybuilding legends. The Franco Columbu death was a huge deal, and it was one of the saddest deaths in 2019.
I love you Franco. I will always remember the joy you brought to my life, the advices you gave me, and the twinkle in your eye that never disappeared. You were my best friend. https://t.co/X3GhZKlgAd — Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) August 30, 2019
How did Franco Columbu Die?
Franco Columbu by the water
Franco Columbu died in tragic swimming accident off the coast of his Native home, Sardinia, specifically San Teodoro.
While he was swimming, he experienced heart failure. This led to him drowning, but not quite dying. After returning to shore, a helicoptor picked him up and got ready to transport him to a hospital in Olbia.
This trip is a 46 minute drive, so going by helicopter, he should have got there within 15 minutes. Sadly during this intense 15 minute ride, Columbu died.
He was survived by his daughter Maria, and his loving wife Deborah. He also had three sisters, Celestia, Gonaria, and Anna. They held a funeral in his birthplace of Ollola.
Franco Columbu Death and Funeral
Franco Columbu was a man of many talents including boxing, weightlifting, entrepreneurship, acting, writing, and so, so much more.
It’s sad that the good ones die before their time, but thankfully, Franco had lived a long, happy life. Franco Columbu is and always will be an inspiration for me and goals, and I hope he will be for you too.
Rest In Peace Franco.
Check out Franco's book Here.