George Peterson, Black professional bodybuilder, dead at 37

The man known professionally as "Da Bull" was found dead a day before a scheduled competition.

Bodybuilder George Peterson died at the age of 37, just a day before a bodybuilding competition in Orlando, Fla. 

Peterson’s friend and coach Justin Miller found Peterson unresponsive in his hotel room and shared the details leading up to the discovery of his death in a moving Instagram post.

Miller wrote that on Monday evening, Peterson, “looked amazing! Felt amazing! He was so inspiring last night…He was so on point mentally and physically. George was energetic, strong lifting the whole gym last night.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Miller attempted to reach Peterson, who wouldn’t answer his door. Miller called a security guard to open Peterson’s room and, “we found him face down mostly cold,” he wrote. Miller dialed 911; hotel security, EMTs, and Miller himself attempted to revive Peterson, but he’d apparently been dead for hours before everyone reached him.

Peterson, a New York native known professionally as “Da Bull,” earned his IFBB Pro card by winning the 2016 NPC Nationals in that division, debuting as a pro the following season. He won the Tampa Pro competition in 2017, his first professional victory, before placing third in the Classic Physique Olympia that year. He also won the 2019 Arnold Classic Physique contest.

He was very active on Instagram, having shared over 3,000 posts to his more than 340,000 Instagram followers. He shared Instagram stories just hours before his death.    

“It is with great sadness that we report the unexpected passing of George Peterson, a champion on stage and off,” wrote Mr.Olympia. “Our condolences go out to his family and all who respected and admired one of the kindest men we have ever known.”

Peterson was in Orlando to compete in the Men’s 212 Division at the 2021 Mr. Olympia, scheduled for Oct. 7-10.

The fitness community continues to respond to the shock of Peterson’s passing.

“Our entire team at the Arnold Sports Festival is profoundly saddened to learn of the passing of professional bodybuilder George Peterson,” the Arnold Sports Festival wrote on its official Facebook page.  “We would like to extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fellow competitors during this incredibly difficult time.”

“I am very saddened by the loss of a friend today,” said Sadik Hadzovic, 2015 Arnold Classic champion, on his Instagram page. “I don’t have the right words to say but I know something needs to change. Rest in peace, George. My condolences to his friends and family. We will miss you greatly.” 

As of press time, Peterson’s cause of death remains unknown.

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