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World’s biggest bodybuilder who collapsed on stage reveals what it was like to die for one minute

Tom Wood

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World’s biggest bodybuilder who collapsed on stage reveals what it was like to die for one minute

A man who was once called ‘Freakenstein’ for being the biggest bodybuilder in the world has shed loads of weight after he died on stage for more than a minute in 1994.

Paul Dillett was once the darling of the professional bodybuilding world.

Even in terms of pumping iron, the man was an absolute f***ing unit.

Swole doesn’t even start to cover it.

As you can tell, Paul Dillett was a big boy. Credit: Instagram
As you can tell, Paul Dillett was a big boy. Credit: Instagram

Despite rising to the top of the fitness modelling world, he also nearly died after collapsing on stage at an event in 1994.

The event in question was the Arnold Classic Competition – named after the famous Hollywood star and ex-bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger himself – but Dillett found himself in some serious trouble on the stage while he was presenting.

Dillett found himself in a seriously dehydrated state and collapsed, requiring an emergency rush off to the hospital.

At the hospital, they found that Dillett was so frail that doctors couldn’t even find a vein to inject him.

They tried four times, but to no avail.

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When he eventually came round, Dillett was absolutely shocked to discover that he’d been out and completely unresponsive – which is to say, not breathing – for a minute.

In an interview with Generation Iron Fitness & Bodybuilding Network, he said: “I came very close to losing my life, it was that bad.

“My heart stopped beating for a minute, one whole minute.”

Honestly, he was massive. Credit: Instagram
Honestly, he was massive. Credit: Instagram

Dillett added: “I woke up in the hospital, and the doctors told me, ‘we had to revive you, you were legally dead for one minute’.

“I don’t think I was ever the same after that.”

In his mind during his period of death, Dillett said he imagined being in an open space with his dog, standing in an open blue area on glass with his beloved pet nearby to him.

He said: “I didn’t even know that I was gone, I just know I felt like I was in an open space and it looked blue.”

Four officials had carried Dillett off the stage after his collapse, but he continued to compete for another two decades afterwards.

Now, he believes that the sport he loved and which gave him his name is ‘dead’.

Now, Dillett looks a lot different to in his heyday. Credit: Instagram
Now, Dillett looks a lot different to in his heyday. Credit: Instagram

"I wish people could have seen what bodybuilding was in the 90's,” he said.

"We would sign autographs until our fingers were swollen... the fans back in the day were so die-hard.

"Now I tell people bodybuilding is dead, bodybuilding is not what it used to be.”

The problem with Dillett at the time was – he believes in part – that he had too much calcium and not enough magnesium in his body.

Now, he’s a lot slimmer and seems to be in good health, which is nice to see.

There’s fitness and then there’s ‘fitness’ in this sense, it turns out.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Paul Dillett

Topics: Health, Sport

Tom Wood
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