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IFBB Pro Melissa Coates Dies

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We regret to report that Canadian IFBB Pro Melissa Coates has passed away at the age of 50. Details are murky at this point, but we do know that she was with her boyfriend, and she stopped breathing. He tried to resuscitate her, but was unsuccessful and she sadly passed away. Melissa was one of the most gifted female bodybuilders in Canadian history, gracing the stages of the Arnold Classic (Ms.International) on two occasions, the Olympia once and many other IFBB Pro league contests over her career. After retiring from bodybuilding competition, she got into professional wrestling where she wrestled through the independent circuit. Known for her balance of muscle and femininity, Melissa had a very promising career in bodybuilding that never reached its true potential before she retired from the sport.

Melissa Coates Background

She was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario and started bodybuilding at the age of 15 to become a pro tennis player! She had some success as a junior, winning the Mid Canada Junior Girls title in 1985, and being a finalist the year before. She also got into powerlifting (had a bench press 250 lbs at 130 lbs). In the early 1990s, she won the lightweight category and the overall at the Physique Challenge contest in Windsor, Ontario. She then moved to Los Angeles and three months later won her pro debut at the 1996 Jan Tana. This was a big win for Melissa Coates and she did so at a bodyweight of 105 lbs at 5 5'. She competed for a number of years on the pro scene and landed on the cover of virtually every bodybuilding magazine at that time. She eventually retired from competitive bodybuilding to pursue a career in wrestling. 

Melissa had battled different setbacks in life, including the amputation of her leg which we reported on in October of 2020. They set up a GoFundMe page for her and they managed to raise over $30,000 to help her. After recovering from that, Melissa got back into training while inspiring fans from the fitness and wrestling world. She will be missed and our thoughts go out to Melissa's family, friends and many fans. Below is a post from Canadian photographer Garry Bartlett (pictured above) on Melissa's death:


Her golden blond hair, tanned, defined  and symmetrical physique made her a standout on any bodybuilding stage. I first met the dynamic Melissa Coates at the 1994 CBBF Canadian Bodybuilding Championships where she dominated the competition winning the title. We became friends and over the years did plenty of photo shoots with her. She was a favourite of Robert Kennedy and was featured prominently in MuscleMag. Shock is an understatement as everyone in the fitness industry deals with the news of Melissa's untimely passing at the age of 50. Mellissa has always been a fighter and last year she suffered severe blood clotting in her left leg, leading to an amputation. The cause of her death has not yet been determined but really means little to those who are mourning her passing. Mellissa was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario June 18, 1971. She was a born athlete and excelled at tennis winning the Canadian Junior Girls Championships in 1985. She took up weight training to gain strength for tennis but eventually shifted her interest over to bodybuilding and competitions. Her success in Bodybuilding had her turning pro and we often seen her gracing the Olympia stage. She often was featured as a fitness model in many top Bodybuilding magazines. Melissa- eventually left Bodybuilding to pursue a career in professional wrestling in 1999. In my 35 years in the fitness industry I have had to pleasure to meet and become friends with many athletes. Every time I hear that one has passed so young, it saddens me deeply.

© Images courtesy of Instagram

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