Bodybuilder and former Mr. Olympia competitor Neil Currey has died at the age of 34, according to an Instagram post by his former coach Milos Sarcev. Sarcev, announced the news on Monday on Instagram, calling it "absolutely shocking" and "heartbreaking."
The exact cause of Currey's death is still unclear, but initial reports suggested that a post on Sarcev's Instagram indicated that Currey may have died by suicide. It's worth noting that the initial Instagram post by Sarcev has been edited and no longer contains any reference to suicide. Currey's death comes just days after legendary women's professional bodybuilder Lisa Lyon died aged 70 after a battle with cancer.
Announcing Currey's death on Instagram, Sarcev wrote: "Absolutely shocking, heartbreaking news - that my former athlete @neil_currey died today...taking his own life.
"My last/best memory of him was this smiling face after he won New York Pro and fulfilled his lifetime dream of qualifying for the Mr. Olympia.
"I am lost for words and filled with pain and sadness. My sincere condolences to his family, friends and loved ones. RIP Neil and God bless your soul."
According to Generation Iron, Currey made his bodybuilding debut at the 2017 World Championships, where he achieved a fifth-place finish in the pro muscle category.
Currey continued to compete on some of the most prominent stages in bodybuilding. He won a gold medal at the 2022 New York Pro, earning himself an invitation to the 2022 Mr. Olympia competition, an impressive achievement that occurred six years after turning professional.
In the Mr. Olympia competition that year, Currey competed in the Classic Physique category and finished 16th, as reported by the U.S. Sun.
It's worth noting that Mr. Olympia is regarded as the pinnacle of bodybuilding competitions and played a pivotal role in launching the illustrious career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who won the title seven times.
World Mourns Tragic Death
Following the news of Neil Currey's death, tributes have been pouring in on social media. RX Muscle, a prominent source for bodybuilding news, shared a message on Instagram: "Stunned and beyond saddened by the tragic news that Neil Currey has passed away at the young age of 34. We pass our most sincere and deepest condolences to Neil's family, friends, and to all of his fans around the world."
Canadian bodybuilder Fouad Abiad praised Currey, saying: "His work ethic was second to none and he had so much potential that was still untapped."
One fan wrote on X: "What a tragic loss! That inspiration ever since my first thoughts into this bodybuilding world came from people like #NeilCurrey. That inspiration will never be lost! RIP one of the greatest!!!"
"Still shaken..." wrote another. fan
And a third said: "On a number of levels, Neil Currey's untimely suicide-related death has really shaken up the bodybuilding world."
Before being known as "The Prodigy," Currey was a college athlete at Middle Tennessee State University. Hailing from Nashville, he was part of the university's football team while pursuing a degree in exercise science.
After his college years, Currey discovered a local gym in Murfreesboro, where a trainer approached him with the idea of competing in a beginners' bodybuilding show. Although the prospect of wearing a speedo and striking unusual poses in front of a large audience might have been daunting, Currey decided to give it a shot.
His friend put him on a strict diet and fitness regimen, pushing him hard in the weeks leading up to the competition.