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Gustavo Badell Passes Away At 50

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By Roger “Rock” Lockridge

The bodybuilding world has suffered a second loss within the month of July. Former IFBB Pro bodybuilder and fan favorite Gustavo Badell has passed away at age 50. The news was shared by numerous outlets on July 12, 2023. Initial reports are saying that Badell died due to a stroke, but no official cause of death had been revealed as of this writing.

The native of Venezuela would have turned 51 in November of this year. He emerged onto the bodybuilding scene as an amateur in the late 1990’s, and he turned professional in 1997. He would make his pro debut in 1998 at the Grand Prix Germany show, where he placed ninth. Many fans consider his breakout show to be the 2002 Toronto Pro Supershow, where he placed third. He would follow that up with three third place finishes in 2004, including at that year’s Mr. Olympia contest, which was his Olympia debut.

His first win would come in 2005 when he claimed the title of Iron Man Pro Invitational champion. That qualified him for that year’s Olympia, which he made his biggest mark of all. There was a Challenge Round where each of the top five contenders could call out another and choose the pose of his choice. Badell won that round, but it had no bearing on the Olympia contest itself. Ronnie Coleman would win his eighth and final Sandow Trophy while Badell took third place.

Badell won the 2006 San Francisco Grand Prix to return to the Olympia, where he placed sixth. He’s actually remembered for this contest as well because he was the first to hug and congratulate Cutler for finally defeating Coleman to win the Mr. Olympia title.

Aside from the contest success, Badell was riding a wave of popularity both with fans and in print because he was one of several stars that were on the famed Team MuscleTech, along with Cutler, Dexter Jackson, Branch Warren, and others. He could be seen in features and columns in most of the major magazines at that time as well as in numerous supplement ads.

The final win of his career came at the 2009 Atlantic City Pro, and he placed 13th at that year’s Mr. Olympia. His final show came at the 2012 European Pro, where he finished in seventh place. He spent his remaining years working as a coach for up-and-coming athletes. He had a social media presence, but he hadn’t posted on his Instagram page since February.

Everyone at Muscle Insider offers their condolences to Badell’s family, friends, and fans.

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