Champion bodybuilder Cedric McMillan died Tuesday, his sponsor said.
He was 44.
“We regret to inform you that our friend and brother @cedricmcmillan passed away today,” Black Skull USA said Tuesday on Instagram. “Cedric will be greatly missed as an athlete, comrade, friend, and father. Our prayers are with all his family and friends. He 'fought the good fight' and now he rests.”
Generation Iron, a digital media company for weight training enthusiasts, reported that McMillan had a heart attack on a treadmill.
McMillan was the 2017 winner of the Arnold Classic bodybuilding competition. His “classic” look may have helped, in part, establish the classic physique division, although he remained in the men’s open division, according to Generation Iron.
McMillan spoke about a near-death experience last year that occurred after he contracted Covid-19.
He said he was having trouble breathing and that when he went to the hospital, he was diagnosed with pneumonia.
“They noticed my heart function was very low. They determined the heart function ... could be low because of the virus,” Generation Iron quoted him as saying.
McMillan's breathing was so poor that doctors told him he needed to get on a plane immediately and get to heart specialist. He blacked out, and the next thing he remembered was waking up three days later, he said.
“They said I was on life support. I had the breathing machine — everything," McMillan said.
“They had to call my family because they thought that I was going to die. My heart was functioning at 10 percent of the normal heart.”
The medical scare prompted McMillan to pull out of a competition and put things into perspective because he wanted to live for his children, he said.
BarBend, a website that provides news coverage and other content about strength sports and fitness, said McMillan's 2017 Arnold Classic victory in Columbus, Ohio, was his most significant. He took home the top prize weighing 280 pounds. He is widely remembered for his entertaining victory speech and for getting Arnold Schwarzenegger himself to pose alongside him.
McMillan’s final victory was at the 2019 Grand Prix Hungary, which qualified him for the 2020 Mr. Olympia competition. However, he skipped that contest, as well as the 2021 Arnold Classic, BarBend reported.
McMillan made his debut at the Mr. Olympia competition in 2013, finishing 12th in what is considered the sport's biggest event, according to BarBend.
McMillan was a native of South Carolina and a member of the Army, BarBend said.