Bodybuilding superstar Chris Dickerson, 1982’s ‘Mr. Olympia,’ dead at age 82

A superstar in the world of professional bodybuilding has tragically passed away.

Chris Dickerson, who won the prestigious Mr. Olympia title in 1982, reportedly died on Thursday at the age of 82, according to Fitness Volt.

Recent health issues

The outlet reported that the cause of Dickerson’s death was said to be pneumonia, and he passed away at the rehab facility he was living in after having suffered a stroke.


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It was the latest in a string of health issues the otherwise supremely fit former bodybuilder had dealt with over the past two years, beginning with a fractured hip suffered during a fall at his home in March of 2020.

While in the hospital for his hip problem, Dickerson reportedly caught COVID-19 but managed to pull through, only to then suffer a heart attack, which resulted in the athlete having a pacemaker installed.

Career peaked in 1980s

Bodybuilding website BarBend reported that Dickerson, born in Montgomery, Alabama, is one of a set of triplets in 1939, but it wasn’t until the mid-1960s when he began to enter and win amateur bodybuilder competitions across the country.

He started to compete as a professional in the 1970s and continued to win various competitions and titles, though he really hit his stride and became a superstar in the early 1980s.

Dickerson was the runner-up in the top-notch Mr. Olympia competitions in 1980 and 1981, and finally claimed the title for himself in 1982.

A historic champion

Another fitness-oriented website, Generation Iron, made note of the several historic firsts that Dickerson claimed along with the honor of being one of only a few to be named Mr. Olympia.

Dickerson was the first Black man to win the bodybuilder titles of Mr. Olympia and the Mr. America competition, and he was also the first openly gay competitor in professional bodybuilding as well as the Mr. Olympia competition.

All told, Dickerson won at least 29 different competitions and titles in four different classes over the course of a nearly 30-year career that stretched from 1966 to 1994. He served as an inspiration to many in the bodybuilding and fitness realms, and he will be sorely missed.

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