The week beginning 21st August 2017 was not a good one for the world of bodybuilding. The bodybuilding and fitness industry went into mourning after it came to light that two massive figures from that world had met their untimely deaths. Rich Piana, arguably the biggest name in bodybuilding, despite being someone who didn’t compete, had been in a medically-induced coma after suffering a heart attack, falling and hitting his head. He was pronounced dead on August 25th, a death that sent shockwaves throughout the bodybuilding and fitness community. But it was a community that was already in mourning, that was trying to come to terms with the death of another star name. Four days before Rich’s passing, the competitive bodybuilder known as “Big Country,” Dallas McCarver, was found dead at his home in Florida. He was known for his freakish size, his beast of a physique, and his personality, which was always upbeat, positive. Those who knew him, those who watched his videos, can testify that he was a gem of a guy, someone who was certainly going places in the bodybuilding industry. He was genuine, loved to help people in any way he could, and openly shared his knowledge; he was one of the good guys, which made his passing all the more tragic.
As there is with any celebrity death, there were always going to be conspiracy theories and rumors. Over the days following Dallas’s passing, more and more has come to light, so now, we have a pretty good picture as to what actually occurred on that fateful night. Here are 15 tragic details surrounding the death of bodybuilder Dallas McCarver.
15 Found Unconscious Just After Midnight on August 22
Things were pretty uncertain at the time of his death. People didn’t really know how he died or even what he was doing. The authorities and medical personnel who arrived on the scene at his house wouldn’t disclose any information. All they revealed is that they’d ruled out foul play and that it seemed to be a tragic accident. They received a phone call from his house, from someone who’d discovered the body. As you’ll learn as you go through this article, Dallas hadn’t been gone for long before he was discovered. He’s a popular guy, very much in demand, so whatever occurred happened a matter of minutes before he was found. Doctors didn’t actually say that he’d died when they arrived at his house. He was unconscious, was rushed to a hospital, and that’s when they pronounced that he was dead. One minute, everything was normal; the next he was gone, just like that. Truly tragic.
14 A Friend Discovered The Body
Dallas McCarver, being relatively young, being hugely successful, was enjoying life. He was doing what he loved to do and was just having a ball. He had a close circle of friends around him, and pretty much everyone in the bodybuilding fraternity had only positive words to say about him. On the night of his death, he had planned to chill out with one of these close buddies. He’d arranged everything with his friend during the day, arranged to meet and hang out. But when his friend came around to Dallas’s Florida home just after midnight, a nasty surprise awaited him. Dallas’s friend was the person who found his body, came across Dallas lying motionless on the floor. Another person close to Dallas later revealed that the man’s name who found Dallas was Josh Lenartowicz. Josh found Dallas lying face down on the kitchen floor. He called the ambulance right away and was instructed to do CPR, which he did until the medics arrived.
13 Was On The Phone With His Girlfriend Moments Before His Death
Many of you will probably know Dallas’s girlfriend. Her name is Ashley Mae Sebera, but she goes by the name of Dana Brooke when she’s strutting her stuff in the wrestling industry with WWE. They’re a star couple, and it was she who first broke the news of Dallas’s passing.
Dallas was a kind, generous, gentle mass monster, and he was infatuated with Dana. They were very much in love, were inseparable, and had been together for quite some time, too. They were in contact with each other throughout that fateful day. Hours before the tragic incident, Dana posted a photo of her with her man, captioned “Man Crush Monday.” Literally minutes before Dallas died, they were on the phone with each other, just chatting about stuff boyfriends and girlfriends do. Dallas said that he was meeting a friend and had some stuff to do, so he had to go, and so Dana ended the conversation by saying “I love you, goodbye.” Those were the last words Dana ever said to Dallas.
12 Girlfriend Revealed He’d Choked On Food
Ok, so how exactly did Dallas die? The authorities ruled out foul play but wouldn’t comment. So, it was left to his girlfriend to take to social media and reveal all to their thousands of adoring fans. In a heartbreaking message, Dana revealed that Dallas had passed, that “the lord had received another angel.” During their last phone conversation, Dallas told Dana that he was going to go and make some food. He prepared his meal, and as he was wolfing it down, he apparently choked. That’s thought to be the cause of his death. When his friend, Josh, found him, he was face down in the kitchen, and apparently, Josh had an inkling why his friend was unconscious because he removed food from his esophagus, or tried to, before starting CPR until the ambulance arrived on the scene. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.
11 Dallas Was Totally Fine On The Day
Any death is tragic, but it must be even harder to come to terms with if that person was up and about, leading his normal life, and exhibiting no signs of ill health. He wouldn’t have shown any signs of impending death seeing as how the cause of his passing was him choking on food, a freak set of circumstances, but even so, it made it incredibly hard to take. He’d even put in some media appearances, met a couple of friends, and shot the breeze with his girlfriend before he went home to cook and eat, keeping his bodybuilding schedule on track. Dallas was like a big kid, but he was the ultimate professional -- wouldn’t sacrifice his bodybuilding livelihood, wouldn’t miss a training session, and miss a meal. He essentially died while living that whole bodybuilding lifestyle; it was a horrible way to go, but if Dana and their fans could take any solace from the incident, it’d be that he had died living the lifestyle he had loved.
10 He’d Had A Hardcore Workout
On the day of his passing, Dallas was doing what he did best -- lifting some heavy-ass weights. He was in the gym and had a seriously hardcore workout, repping some serious poundage in an attempt to get his body ready in time for an upcoming competition. He was chest-pressing and was using 160 lb dumbbells, which to those of you who are prone to some lifting, will know that that’s a hell of a lot of weight. Josh Lenartowicz, his friend and roommate, was also with him as his training partner, and the two of them were letting the intensity flow. It was blood, sweat, and tears alright that day in the gym -- just another session for Big Country. Again, it just goes to show how unexpected Dallas’s passing was. One moment, he was killing it in the gym, the next he was lying face down on his kitchen floor never to wake up again.
9 Was Posting Vids And Pics Hours Before His Death
In today’s and age, being a pro bodybuilder doesn’t really make you famous or gain you a fan following. To get that following, you’ve got to take to social media, and Dallas knew it. He was a social media nut, and regularly posted pics and videos to keep his fans updated with his journey. Dallas was also a motivational character, and so he regularly posted inspiring messages to his hundreds of thousands of adoring fans. Because of his strong social media presence, Dallas became one of the biggest bodybuilding personalities around. He was so popular that some of the top competitors in the sport, and consequently, plenty of media opportunities, including sponsorship deals, just fell into his lap. He was at it, doing the whole social media thing and communicating with his fans just hours before his untimely death. He uploaded a video of his workout, and Dana also posted a few pics of them chilling out together before she posted one revealing the shocking news of his passing.
8 The Steroid Issue
Dallas McCarver built his American dream on steroids; that’s what everyone's been saying since his passing. Forget about all the effort he put it, that whole lifestyle which he rigidly stuck to – just steroids; everything can be attributed to steroids. Unfortunately, the average person on the street, when they set eyes on Dallas, won’t think about all that effort he had put in in order to make it as a pro bodybuilder and compete. They’re just going to think one thing: steroids. Yes, Dallas did take roids – it doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out. But is there any use bringing up the whole steroid issue at the time of his death? Surely, there’s no correlation between being a steroid user and choking on food? Well, that’s somehow how a lot of media publications have been writing about his death. Dallas choked on food, but the steroid issue just had to be brought up; it just had to be, in some way or another, related to his steroid use.
Pretty much everyone’s aware that to become a top bodybuilder, you’re going to have to take steroids. That much is a given. Although people in the sport are still very hush hush about their steroid use, over the past decade, there have been more and more people speaking out, admitting that they take anabolics – not that they really need to. Just look at them, and it’s pretty obvious. But one thing that people are less prone to talk about is insulin. The majority of the top pros out there take insulin but really don’t like talking out it. It basically works by increasing blood flow to the muscles, making nutrients flood into the muscles and stimulating glycogen formation. And it can be pretty dangerous – there have been numerous cases of bodybuilders dying over the years due to insulin shock or something of that nature. Josh, Dallas’s buddy, had revealed that Dallas was taking insulin. Nothing unusual there considering he was a top pro. But there are many people out there, so-called experts, who are saying that perhaps him taking insulin had something to do with his death. Misuse of this medication usually reserved for diabetics can result in immediate death, and there’s speculation that that’s what happened to Dallas.
6 He Was A 330 lb Monster
In the world of competitive bodybuilding, being the biggest doesn’t necessarily correlate to being the best. Bodybuilding’s about looks, aesthetics, definition, and how the muscles all tie in with each other. But who do the fans want to see? People don’t spend their hard-earned cash and come to bodybuilding shows or follow a bodybuilder on social media to see a guy slightly bigger than they are with a well-proportioned physique. They want to see the so-called freaks, the mass monsters, and Dallas was just that. It was just one of the reasons he was so popular. He was one of the biggest guys around, often standing on stage at around 330 lbs. Although that might look impressive – to some people anyway – being that size just isn’t good in terms of health. Carrying all that weight puts a tremendous amount of strain on the body, including one's organs, and it may have been a contributing factor to Dallas’s death. It’s quite possible that there was a mechanical obstruction which led to him choking. The obstruction could've resulted from him having an overly thick neck due to his sheer mass. Nothing definitive here, but that could very well have been the case.
5 Was A Mr. Olympia Competitor
The bodybuilding world was rocked by two tragic deaths that fateful week in August. Rich Piana was an ex-competitor and an ex-Mr. California but achieved fame marketing himself and his brands on social media. Dallas, on the other hand, was still competing at the time of his death. In fact, you could say that he was more successful than Rich in a pure bodybuilding sense because Dallas has stepped on the Mr. Olympia stage. For those of you who don’t know bodybuilding, the Mr. Olympia competition is the biggest of the year. Whoever’s crowned Mr. Olympia is the best bodybuilder on the planet. Just to step on that coveted stage is hard enough, and Dallas did so over the past few competitions, in his early 20s, which was a tremendous achievement. Due to the health problems he had this year, Dallas was going to give this year’s competition a miss. He hadn’t been able to accumulate enough points to be able to take to the stage, so he was beginning to focus on next year’s event. But he was still going to be an integral part of the whole event. He had sponsors, would’ve made appearances, and there would’ve been a whole heap of fans looking forward to seeing him. He died around a month before the competition, and so a lot of talk at the Olympia is going to be about Dallas McCarver.
4 Dallas Had Previous Suffered From Bronchitis
I mentioned that Dallas had been battling with his health this year and that he really wasn’t in great shape, health-wise that is. At the start of the year, he flew down under to step on stage and to try and rack up enough points to partake in this year’s Mr. Olympia. He took part in the Australia Arnold Classic competition and was actually a favorite going in. But he never made it past the initial stages of prejudging. That’s because he collapsed on stage and had to be carted away to a hospital. It turned out that Dallas had been feeling really run down and had been suffering from a respiratory infection. Upon a hospital visit, this was later found to be bronchitis, a serious condition. The upper respiratory infection had turned into a bad case of bronchitis. Being in his depleted, dehydrated state on stage only served to worsen matters. Dallas basically couldn’t breathe and thus collapsed. This was just one of the numerous health problems that plagued Dallas throughout the year.
3 He Had Numerous Other Health Issues
The bronchitis aside, which was a pretty major health issue for anyone, let alone a bodybuilder to have, Dallas had a ton of health issues. On the outside, he may have seemed to be all big and built, in an optimum state of health, but on the inside, he was rotting and he was rusting, and he really wasn’t in great shape. His health problems have been well documented. Dallas himself had revealed that he always had colds. Before competitions, he was always getting sick and feeling run-down. In fact, look at his vids, and it would seem as if he had a cold all year round. Obviously, something was wrong; he had some serious underlying health issues, which could probably be attributed to bodybuilding. But, bodybuilders don’t have insurance, don’t have a safety net. So, even though he was sick, he powered through and had to step on stage and compete or else he’d make no cash and would probably lose cash due to all the wasted prep work. This took a hell of a lot out of him, but even so, him dying was a massive shock.
2 Dallas Was So Young
I’ve mentioned everything that was wrong with Dallas over the year. The fact he had a case of bronchitis, collapsed on stage, always had a cold, and was feeling run down – it’s really not normal for the young buck of bodybuilding to be going through such health issues. It sounds like he was in his 80s, not his mid-20s. Dallas died at the age of 26, an age where most people would be in their prime. On the outside, Dallas looked like one of these people. But it’s almost unfathomable what happened to him, what he went through over the past year, and ultimately, how he succumbed to his death. The guy was just so young. He used to call some of the other competitors on the Mr. Olympia stage “Papa.” That just goes to show the age differences; Dallas was seriously young and had a long and successful career to look forward to. Unfortunately for Dallas, his loved ones, and his fans, things didn’t quite turn out like that.
1 GF Left A Heart-Wrenching Message
It was Dana who revealed the news surrounding Dallas’s passing. She let the world know in the form of a heart-wrenching Instagram post, leaving a tear-jerking message. Let’s leave the last words to Dana:
“The lord received another angel, who happens to be my LIFE- MY Dallas the one WHO ONLY UNDERSTOOD ME! I can speak on the behalf of his family-- the love and support you all are showing for him and us is [sic] OVERWHELMING!! Dallas would always tell me 'just keep swimming his little pengutimous (hippo mixed with penguin)' he would tell everyone the same -- just keep swimming, keep moving through life and he will be your angel above!! He had a way with making people laugh!! Dallas was an exceptional bodybuilder, but I didn't see him for that. I saw him for HIM AND HIS HEART!! He is the best individual I have ever met-- my ying to my yang. finished my sentences and knew what I was thinking before I'd say it!! We had it all figured out - new WWE superstar 'Big country' & 'country strong' mixed tag team!!! -- you were my life, you are my life, I still smell you and feel your presence, NEVER LEAVE MY SIDE -- like I have always asked; and you said NO NEVER Mrs. McCarver -- I had your back and I knew you had mine!! You’re our angel.”
Truly heartbreaking. RIP, Dallas McCarver.
Sources: dailymail.co.uk; mirror.co.uk