Cedric McMillan, a champion American bodybuilder, has died at the age of 44, sponsors confirmed.
McMillan reportedly suffered a heart attack while on a treadmill, according to fitness network Generation Iron.
The champion strongman had been open about suffering from long-term Covid-19, which had caused him heart issues, as well as pneumonia, the network has also reported. It was unclear exactly what heart issues the athlete suffered from.
Black Skull USA, a supplement company that sponsored McMillan, confirmed his passing Wednesday on Instagram.
‘We regret to inform you that our friend and brother @cedricmcmillan passed away today. Cedric will be greatly missed as an athlete, comrade, friend, and father,’ they wrote in a post on Instagram. The company didn’t provide further details around McMillan’s death.
In a video posted to Instagram on February 28, McMillan laid out in great detail the struggles his body was going through.
‘I can’t keep food inside for some reason,’ he said. ‘It makes me a stupid hiccup, I hiccup all day and half the night and every time I eat, or even drink water. Come back up, nothing wants to stay inside.
‘Four weeks ago I went to the doctor again and they recommended that I do not do the Arnold Classic.’
McMillan won the 2017 Arnold Classic bodybuilding title, named after Arnold Schwarzenegger. A New Jersey native, McMillan grew up idolizing Schwarzenegger.
The Arnold Sports Festival remembered him in a Facebook post after his death Wednesday.
‘Known for his larger than life personality, his infectious smile, a gentle heart, and a sense of humor that was loved by fellow competitors and fans alike, Cedric will be deeply missed.’
McMillan, a husband and father of three, was an Army veteran and also a member of the South Carolina National Guard, who were notified of his death. He achieved the rank of Sergeant First Class in July 2021.
After contracting Covid-19 and recovering in 2020, McMillan told Generation Iron he started to feel symptoms recur in summer 2021.
In December 2021, after what he described as ‘a near-death experience,’ he was hospitalized for three weeks. After his release, he attempted to get back into the physical shape that would allow him to compete but started to feel ill again.
After getting sick again, he’d said in a video he was focusing more time on family and his loved ones.
‘We give a lot of ourselves, to the gym, to preparation and to work. Give yourself to your family and the people who love you while you still have a chance,’ he said.