Former NPC bodybuilder Matt Mendenhall passed unexpectedly on Aug. 28 at 61, shocking many bodybuilding enthusiasts and athletes.
No official cause of death had been reported as of this writing.
In the 1980s, Mendenhall was a regular on major amateur stages. Even though many sensed his talent, he could never earn a pro card.
He came closest in 1985 when he finished second in the heavyweight division at the World Games. While he retired as an amateur, his name was always remembered fondly by those who grew up during the bodybuilding era.
Many people from the past and present paid respect to a man who was widely regarded as the finest amateur bodybuilder ever.
Bodybuilder Matt Mendenhall Olympia, On Facebook
I was startled and heartbroken to learn about Matt’s death on Facebook late last night.
We adored him for his kind heart, kindness, charming demeanor, and, of course, his sense of humor for all of us who were fortunate enough to be his friends.
There’s a lot to say about Matt, and it’s all positive! Those who met him or saw him in publications or person immediately recognized that he was unique and that he physically was out of this world.”
Instagram: Shawn Ray
Matt Mendenhall (AKA Mr. Genetics), along with Lee Haney, was one of the most promising adolescents in 1982. He is widely regarded as the greatest bodybuilder who never pursued a professional career.
Matt has a long line of misfortunes that have prevented him from reaching his full potential and gaining his pro card.
Despite his terrible luck, he didn’t give up on his dream until he was forced to – after years of hard bodybuilding, his body began to shut down. #GodSpeed #legend #rip”
On Instagram, Rich Gaspari, 1989 Arnold Classic Champion
It’s heartbreaking to learn about Matt Mendenhall’s passing. Matt was an incredible bodybuilder with the best chance of becoming Mr. Olympia.
In the Nationals, he finished second to @lee haney official. When I relocated to California and stayed in Reseda, I met Matt. He was one of several excellent bodybuilders who honed their skills at Gold’s Gym.
Reseda Lee Haney was my manager and trainer. My heartfelt condolences go out to Matt’s family. #rip”
Cory Everson, Former Ms. Olympia, On Facebook
Matt and I had reunited and corresponded virtually daily this last year, and I learned more and more about the great guy he had grown into.” I’ll miss our discussions.
I’ll miss telling our own experiences and the laughter that accompanied them. Matt, your kindness and the prayers we shared will be missed.
I’ll miss you all, but I know where you are and who you’re with, and I’m confident you’ll be in the best company, living out your well-earned eternal life of health and happiness.
I’m ecstatic for you, but I’m also disappointed because I was looking forward to our contact. I appreciate everything you did for me during my time on this planet. “Until we meet again, my lovely little brother,” says the narrator.
John Meadows, former American Gladiator Billy Smith, Phil Hermon, and Alena Kosinova are among the athletes who have died in recent weeks.
Mendenhall’s family and friends have our condolences from everyone at Muscle & Fitness.