|Subject: Franco Columbu, actor and bodybuilder dies by drowning ...
He was 78
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Date Posted: Friday, August 30, 10:56:33am
Franco Columbu Dead: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know ...
August 30, 2019
Franco Columbu is the former Mr. Olympia who died on August 30 at the age of 78. Columbu, a native of the island of Sardinia in Italy, won Mr. Olympia the year after Arnold Schwarzenegger retired from bodybuilding. Columbu was long considered one of Schwarzenegger’s closest friends and confidants. Columbu passed away just over three weeks after his 78th birthday. The bodybuilding legend is survived by his wife, Deborah and their daughter, Maria.
Columbu’s sad passing was first reported by multiple reports from his homeland. Columbu had lived for years in Los Angeles. The preface of his book, “Franco Columbu’s Complete Book of Bodybuilding,” reads, “Nobody embodies the American dream better than Franco Columbu.” During his career, Columbu won Mr. Olympia, Mr. Universe, Mr. World, Mr. International, Mr. Europe and Mr. Italy.
In the 1980s, Columbu made appearances in the Schwarzenegger movies, “The Terminator,” “Conan the Barbarian” and “The Running Man.”
La Nuova reports that Columbu drowned while swimming at the beach in the town of San Teodoro in Sardinia at around 2 p.m. local time. Other reports says that Columbu suffered a heart attack while swimming. Emergency services airlifted Columbu to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
An August 2003 Time Magazine cover story on Arnold Schwarzenegger, as “The Terminator” star was on the brink of becoming the governor of California, Columbu was described as being Schwarzenegger’s “Sancho Panza.” A reference to the titular character of “Don Quixote’s” best friend and squire, Sancho Panza. Columbu is quoted in the article as saying of Schwarzenegger’s political ambitions, “He wants to do a big, beneficial thing, more than a movie—like straightening out this problem in California.”
In the article, Columbu also defended Schwarzenegger against allegations that the Austrian-native was on dialysis due to steroid use. Columbu said, “The first time I heard the dialysis rumor was when we were skiing in Sun Valley. I got a call from someone telling me that Arnold was on dialysis, and I said, ‘No he’s not. He’s here skiing with me.” In addition to his friendship with Schwarzenegger, Columbu’s website homepage shows a photo of him training Sylvester Stallone.
Columbu left his hometown of Ollolai in Sardinia in the 1960s to go and work in Munich, Germany as a bricklayer. Fellow bodybuilder, Phil Laden, referred to Columbu as a “very good, Italian mason.” During this time, Columbu began as a boxer where he first met Schwarzenegger. In the 1970s, the pair decided to move to Los Angeles together, according to a bio on Columbu’s website.
In his later years, Columbu became a chiropractor and nutritionist in Los Angeles. Columbo wrote several books on nutrition and fitness including, “Weight Training and Bodybuilding: A Complete Guide for Young Athletes.” He attained his qualifications at Cleveland Chiropractic College in 1977. In 2004, the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners told Columbu to stop referring to himself as a doctor on his letterhead and in advertising. Columbu had a Ph.D. from the non-accredited Donsbach University.
In 2006, Columbu was appointed to the state Board of Chiropractic Examiners in California by Arnold Schwarzenegger. In a press release, Columbu said that his approach to those suffering with injuries was to get back into training (exercise) quickly. The common approach was “non-activity.”
Columbu married his wife, Maria, in 1990, with whom he had his only child, Maria.
Prior to that, Columbu had been married to a fellow chiropractor named Anita Sanangelo. According to one story, Anita first spied Columbu in a bodybuilding magazine and yelled, “Oh God, Oh God… I have to meet him!” Anita was featured in the documentary sequel, “Pumping Iron 2.”
In Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1993 movie “Last Action Hero,” Franco Columbu is credited as being the director of the fictional “Jack Slater” movie series.
As news of Columbu’s sad passing spreads, many in the bodybuilding world have taken to social media to mourn his passing. While the mayor of Columbu’s hometown Ollolai told La Repubblica, “Franco’s death is very painful news for us, he was Ollolai’s ambassador in the world.” The mayor said that Columbu would regularly come to his homeland for three weeks between August and September.
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