Franco Columbu Biography
Francesco Columbu was an Italian actor, author, champion bodybuilder, powerlifter and World’s Strongest Man competitor.
|Nickname||The Sardinian Strongman|
|Born||August 7, 1941
Ollolai, Sardinia, Italy
|Died||August 30, 2019 (aged 78)|
|Height||5 ft 5 in (165 cm)|
|Weight||Contest: 185 lb (84 kg)|
Sad news: Franco Columbu, 2-time Mr. Olympia and one of the strongest bodybuilders of all-time, has passed away from a tragic swimming accident at the age of 78. pic.twitter.com/tEO0j0BcVz
— T NATION (@T_Nation) August 30, 2019
Franco Columbu Age
He was 78 years old.
Franco Columbu Biography
Former Mr. Olympia Franco Columbu Dead at 78 https://t.co/uY5fYoVRGi
— TMZ (@TMZ) August 30, 2019
Franco Columbu Bodybuilding
Columbu was born in Ollolai, Sardinia (Italy). Starting his athletic career as a boxer, Columbu progressed into Olympic Weightlifting, powerlifting, and later bodybuilding, winning the title of Mr. Olympia in 1976 and 1981.
We are saddened by the passing of the legendary Franco Columbu. Early reports from an Italian media outlet indicate that Columbu died as a result of an “accident at sea” in his native Sardinia.
We will have more details as we get it.
Columbu was 78. pic.twitter.com/5lFyCTrPfH
— RXMuscle.com (@RXMuscledotcom) August 30, 2019
From 1969 until some years later Columbu was considered to have been one of the strongest men in the world. He held a number of powerlifting world records. He performed a strongman act of breaking a hot water bottle by inflating it orally, lifting vehicles onstage while another performer changed a tire, and deadlifted over 320 kg (700 lbs). In 1977, Columbu competed in the first World’s Strongest Man competition, placing fifth in overall points; a remarkable outing, considering Franco weighed much less than the other competitors. He was forced to drop from competition due to an injury. While leading the “refrigerator race”, a downhill race while wearing a heavy, unwieldy refrigerator strapped to the racer’s back, Franco stumbled and collapsed with a grotesquely dislocated leg, which was aired on national television. After a court settlement, he received a reported $1 million in compensation for his injury.
Deeply saddened by the passing of one of our greatest champions. Franco Columbu won the Mr. Olympia in 1976 and 1981 inspiring an entire generation. We’ll never forget you, Franco. pic.twitter.com/N93ItIh7cU
— Mr. Olympia LLC (@MrOlympiaLLC) August 30, 2019
After Arnold Schwarzenegger retired from bodybuilding competition in 1975, Franco Columbu became the next Mr. Olympia in 1976. After Schwarzenegger’s comeback victory in the 1980 Mr. Olympia, Franco followed suit and won the 1981 Mr. Olympia. (They are among the only three athletes who won the title on non-consecutive years, with Jay Cutler.
Columbu was a longtime friend of Schwarzenegger, whom he met in Stuttgart in 1965 and against whom he competed in several international-level bodybuilding competitions. For the Mr. Olympia competitions however, he competed in the under 200 lb (90.7 kg) category, whereas Schwarzenegger was in the over 200 lb category. The IFBB has abandoned weight classes since 1980. Arnold and Franco were inseparable friends and training partners during the late 60s to mid-1970s. Columbu served as Schwarzenegger’s best man at his wedding to Maria Shriver in 1986. Columbu and Schwarzenegger had been encouraged to come to America by bodybuilding guru Joe Weider in 1969; Weider sponsored them with an $65/week stipend. They arrived in America and began a bricklaying and patio business called European Brick Works in 1969.
The legendary Franco Columbu has died, reportedly via drowning. The Italian was a strength sports legend, competing in both body building as well as powerlifting and strongman (he was a +700lbs deadlift puller). He was also Arnold Schwarzenegger’s right hand man for decades. RIP. pic.twitter.com/qSy8YUDFcd
— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) August 30, 2019
In 1988, he designed a comprehensive men’s workout to flatten the stomach, narrow the waist, and eliminate love handles. As a chiropractor and a weightlifter, his career parallels Karyn Marshall using chiropractic therapy to train for competitions. Colombu was naturally strong. In his book Coming On Strong, he recalled a time where he and Arnold Schwarzenegger were hanging out and Arnold saw a donkey. Being the character Arnold was, he told Franco to pick up the donkey. Franco picked it up with ease and they walked around while Arnold would yell “Look at my friend’s ass.”
Franco Columbu Acting career
Bodybuilder / Actor #FrancoColumbu has passed away.
Columbu appeared in films such as #PumpingIron (1977), #ConanTheBarbarian (1982), #TheTerminator (1984), #TheRunningMan (1987), #BigTopPeeWee (1988)
He was also #ArnoldSchwarzenegger‘s best friend.#RIPFrancoColumbu. pic.twitter.com/KW3ITsbtF7
— Only Film Media (@OnlyFilmMedia) August 30, 2019
Columbu’s television appearances included the “Dead Lift” episode from the series The Streets of San Francisco (originally broadcast on 5 May 1977), in which Arnold Schwarzenegger has a prominent role (Colombu plays himself – announced as “from Trieste, Italy: Franco Columbu – in a fictitious “SFBBA Mr. San Francisco” bodybuilding contest near the end – alongside Robby Robinson, Ed Corney and other top athletes of the era – where an inexperienced and anger prone “Joseph Schmidt” – Schwarzenegger – places 2nd, then wins an arm wrestling fight in a bar), and TV commercials, most notably Vitalis (“the pump”). In the 1993 film Last Action Hero starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, the words “A Franco Columbu film” appear on the opening credits of Jack Slater IV (a film within the film) as a tribute to Columbu, although he does not actually appear on screen. The “Columbu Terminator” features as a boss character in the Terminator 3 video game.
Franco Columbu Death, Franco Columbu Cause of Death
Former Olympia champion and staple of old school bodybuilding, Franco Columbu has tragically passed away. According to a number of Italian news sites, Franco Columbu tragically lost his life after an incident at sea in his native Sardinia, Italy.
— John Fallon † (@johnhfallon) August 30, 2019