Facts Behind Nasser El Sonbaty’s Death Confirmed


Guillermo Tom, Nasser El Sonbaty’s friend and training partner, reveals the real facts behind his friend’s untimely passing

Ever since news broke last week of Nasser El Sonbaty’s passing, the Internet has been aflame with rumors of all sorts as to the cause of death. In many ways the continued discussion among bodybuilding fans is a testament to the impact Nasser had on the sport. For this reason we greatly appreciate Guillermo Tom taking the time to clarify the circumstances once and for all.

“Nasser had been ill for sometime. In November he was admitted to the hospital here in San Diego for breathing problems. It was then that he was diagnosed with heart failure and kidney damage. He was on dialysis from that day on. The doctors told him he was not a candidate for a heart transplant because his heart was too weak. He went back to Egypt to visit his family, which consisted of his mother, father and one sister. He died in his sleep while in Egypt. Whether or not it was caused by any of the illnesses I mentioned, we do not yet know. That’s the true story.”

There will be a memorial for Nasser at the Urbanbody Gym in San Diego on Friday March 29 at 6:00pm. Everybody is welcome to attend the memorial. Please send all flowers or cards directly to the gym.

More on Nasser and his bodybuilding legacy here!

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  • Clifford Tindall

    Non stop drug abuse will do that…

    • Arnold

      Have some respect, FUCK YOU.

      • sara queen

        Eat clen and tren hard Ahnold bitch !

      • Datch

        Accept the truth and fuck yourself. Clifford is right.

  • disqus_UkMJRjoqty

    I’m sure many years of hormone and diuretics abuse played a role lets not forget the man carried well over three hundred pounds of muscle on a frame thats not intended to cary all that mass his heart had to work twice as hard, also considering what is involved prepping for a contest over and over personally he was an inspiration to me and I’m sadden by his untimely death, he didn’t pull punches and spoke the truth when others skirted around it, much respect Nasser RIP big guy!

  • disqus_UkMJRjoqty

    Also having looked at past olimpia contests two men come to mind that should have worn the crown and owned the title Mr. Olimpia strong possibility, Kevin Levorne and without a doubt 1997 Nasser El Sonbaty, it may have left you a little bitter my huge friend however your loyal fans know who Mr.O was in 97

  • Fadrick Paiva

    first Erick Rhodes, now Nasser El Sonbaty… different guys and one common link: abusive steroids usage. Hopefully their deaths will teach everybody to think twice before use hormones all the time.

  • MMI

    The reasons behind Nasser’s death aside, I think we can all agree that he left an indelible mark on the sport and will be sorely missed!

  • Glas Good

    Think about it, everything is growing including your internal organs especially when combining GH, IGF, INSULIN, AAS, … veterinary hormones and drugs.

    How can you expect to grow to over 300 lbs and have normal internal organs.

    Bodybuilding should be a healthy non drug sport. Joe Weiders Mr Olympia should look at crowning real natural drug free bodybuilders and clean up the sport once and for all.

    It’s a fact, these drugs have severe implications on mentally and physically.

    • Matthew Stephen Roh

      Simultaneously urinating, defecating, and dying is not pleasant at any age.

      The article mentions he was on dialysis, so unlikely he did this (he was probably oliguric or anuric).

      Have some respect for this man. He believed so strongly in what he was doing that he dedicated his life to bodybuilding. The drugs were there, yes, but I’m sure he struggled with the cognitive dissonance of knowing he was doing something harmful to his body. Who are you to judge him? Have you always been perfect?

      We don’t know what life lessons he learned on this earth. Maybe he did precisely what he was put on this earth to do.

      How many lives has he touched? How many people has he inspired?

      May he rest in peace.

    • YouStartedit

      “Joe Weiders Mr Olympia should look at crowning real natural drug free bodybuilders and clean up the sport once and for all”

      True and sad that It’ll never happen. Not now, Not ever. A 15stone toned body doesn’t sell and the weider organisation thrives on Mr O contenders
      to boost its name; The Mr Universe is the same as well.
      Its not healthy and the general public don’t like it but at the same time it’s a multi million dollar industry that cannot be sustained on joe blogs that goes to the gym and eats carrots 3 times a day.

  • eric garonzik

    As always people that have no clue or right to voice there opinion (not knowing the medical history-not knowing the man) feel the need to voice there opinions. As a sport scientist ,nutritional bio-chemist that was friends with Nassar I can say heart disease happens, people die. He made his choice to live his life how he wanted. The fact that he was so educated lends more to this. His life his choice. As for bodybuilding it is about perfection. If you use drugs so be it. It is so funny to hear people who think any pro sport is clean. If you don’t know calculus don’t try and teach it. If you don’t know pharmacology/steroids keep it to yourself. Pick a sport small and week can do and be happy. As for the modern day gladiators, Let them rule! Huge and Strong!

    • Glas Good

      And what about the Kidney damage ?. The sport is a sham, I’m aware that drug abuse is rife throughout sport but other athletes don’t abuse those drugs on level with Pro Bodybuilding.


      “If you don’t know calculus don’t try and teach it.”

      I say if you don’t basic know English learn it.

      “people that have no clue or right to voice there opinion”

      Should be

      “people that have no clue or right to voice *** their **** opinion”

      Their, belonging to them.

      There, over there.


      What educated man in his right mind would pollute his system with so much chemicals that he suffered heart failure and kidney damage,death as a result.

      • eric garonzik

        I wrote it quick out of emotion because tired of the 150 lbs “wanna be bodybuilders” bitching, Nasser was a good friend and great champion. Funny how all little men buy the mags then bitch cause they can;t compete with or with out drugs

        • Anthony Yiatras

          Dude you’re a clueless dumb bastard. Hate to go there but wake your Ass the hell up. I’m with the guy you’re referring to as a 150lb wannabe. And I’m a 195 lb Natural Bodybuilder that is sure as the sun freaking shines knows I could have competed with my drug induced brothers. Why did I choose not to? Cause no money or fame is worth an early freaking trip to see your maker! As well as the fact that I saw guys dropping like flies from lasix many years ago. So I did not want to be that type of Role Model. IN THE END, THESE GUYS LEAVE THEIR MOM’s, DAD’s, SISTER’s, BROTHER’s , FRIENDS, and OTHER LOVED ONES BEHIND!!!! IS THAT THE FREAKING PART YOU’RE JUST NOT GETTING! I know it’s a cold cruel world out there but really, THERE HAS TO BE ONE PERSON ON THIS BLUE PLANET THAT GIVES A SHIT ABOUT YOU AND WOULD MISS YOU. So I made the choice to say that I am staying Natural for myself as well as for the betterment of everyone else! I don’t want any part of a loved one saying he looked up to these Bodybuilders and then he became like them and now he is gone!!! SCREW THAT AND SCREW THE SICK SPORT THAT IS KILLING THESE ATHLETE’s. I have much love for these guys but I feel sorry for them. They made the wrong choice.. REMEMBER THIS MY FRIEND AND REMEMBER IT WELL, “THE MOST PRECIOUS COMMODITY ONE HAS IS TIME” SCREW EVERYTHING ELSE. When that MD tells you there is little sand left, everything suddenly takes on a whole new meaning and I don’t care who you are. It seemed to me that Steve Jobs was doing everything he could to stay here but in the end, it didn’t matter.

          • livingcleanforever .


        • skye4

          “Funny how all little men buy the mags then bitch cause they can;t compete with or with out drugs”

          And yet you’re here reading the mags. YOU’RE the real loser, dude. You come here, trying to impress a bunch of virtual posters, by claiming that you were friends with Nasser (who cares), and that you’re not a 150lb wannabe (something tells me you are). No one cares. The rest of us are just trying to learn and get some tips, including how we can avoid mistakes of someone that died way too young. We don’t want to be 300 lbs, we just want to look good.

    • skye4

      Musclemag is a publication and website intended for us to learn about and discuss this hobby that we all share, whether you’re a pro, or a “150 lb wannabe” (we all started somewhere, and as a “friend of Nasser”, YOU should know better than to make fun of beginners). If we can’t discuss and LEARN from Nasser’s mistakes, than WTF is this publication for? That’s why we’re all here. To LEARN. Nasser lived his life “as he wanted”, and good for him. But *I* don’t want my life to be exactly like his. Yeah, I want to pack on some muscle (and I’m already 220, btw, at 5’9″), but I also want to live past 47. What were Nasser’s mistakes? WHAT did he do that I can maybe avoid? Why do you think it’s wrong that we want to discuss these things? He was huge and strong, good for him. But I’ll settle for slightly less huge/strong than Nasser, if it means I get to see my 50th and 60th and 70th birthdays. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Take a chill pill, keep lifting, and learn from others’ mistakes.

    • Jammy

      You talk a lot of crap.

    • There is always someone who claims to know “all the facts” when they don’t. Pro bodybuilders are taking in huge amounts of steroids year round and year after year. It doesn’t take a genius to see why so many didn’t make it to 50.

  • Glas Good

    Poor Nasser, Ripped off for the Mr Olympia and his life. Yeah man, he was in fantastic shape, the best shape of his life. Shame about the shape of his internal organs. Mr Olympia hopeful takes second prize trophy, dialysis machine and coffin.

    He truly was ripped. Why more mugs think that this is something to aspire towards beggars belief.

  • urboss7766

    I remember seeing him and Lee Priest in flex magazine when I was younger and was instantly hooked on bodybuilding. I never had the balls to take steroids and pursue it like I wanted to for fear or side effects but I respect this man so much and I am actually sad hearing of his passing. My younger cousin was fat and had liver problems when younger but after seeing images of Nasser he started working out, playing football and wrestling. He still holds state lifting records in Nevada for his weight class. Rest in Peace brother

  • sara queen

    Always Eat Clen & Tren Hard Bitches ! U WOT M8 ?

  • Vinny Miletti

    So every single thread on here is only focusing on steroids. First, I agree — the cycles these guys use are tremendous, but most of them DON’T die. Most of them live long robust lives, and reach the average life of 72 years. Second, why does no one mention their diets? These guys, during their bulking stages, eat 4 lbs of red meat a day! Study after study shows the link between heart failure and saturated fat consumption, heart failure and cholesterol consumption, etc. Surely that plays a HUGE role when it comes to personal health. Third, people naturally lose their T levels as they age, and there was a study that just came out that shows men lose their T levels as early as 22 years of age (1 in 4 men to be exact) — there have been TONS of studies showing just how wonderful steroid use was for these men. Taking 1 shot a week of test cyp at 1 ml / 200g has done nothing but wonders for men, increased bone density, BETTER heart health, better moods (sorry, no link to aggressive behavior), etc.

    All the stigma behind steroids is really surreal and misunderstood in this country — it is at the point where the politics of steroids has destroyed what should be a fantastic scientific breakthrough for men around the country.

    Obviously, I would be living in a dream world if I took the position that steroids in any amount were NOT harmful — it is a risk you take for the sport. A typical cycle of these guys involves about 4 or 5 different types of products at any given time — sometimes up to 10-15 ml a week of various substances, and yes that is very dangerous — but lets not forget, it isn’t just the steroids — it is how they live their lives, it is the totality of the circumstances surrounding the sport.

    In this world, you are guaranteed only 4 freedoms, the freedom to try, the freedom to buy, the freedom to win and the freedom to lose — this was his decision, he took the risk, and it didn’t work out too well for him. No reason to bash the sport nor the drugs they dabble in — and there is no reason to stop the analysis at steroids — the stress, the diet, the abuse to his CNS all played a role in his demise.

  • Tom Screeam Myllyniemi

    I FUcking Know some MOther fucking cunts would write here about steroids!!! Shut da fuck up… Ugly as fuck hang ur selfs so ugly virgin fat fucks!……………… R.I.P

    • Datch

      Steroid abuse also causes aggressiveness and bad grammar.

    • joseph salemi

      Take it easy with the language. Didn’t anyone teach you good manners and language techniques? It’s really sad that some small and insecure people need to use drugs to get big just to get attention. I have been lifting for many years and being 62yrs. of age, all natural. I’m not a body builder, leaning toward power strength. One cannot compete with synthetic drugs and shouldn’t be a issue. In this time of living I have noticed that guys look at others and look up to big lifters. This is not reality and long term damaging. Lifting is supposed to be a healthy sport, not death threatening, picturing how big I can get beyond natural lifters is a sickness of small man syndrome. It also portrays younger lifters that do not no any better to take steroids so they can also get big. Not the REAL picture, lifting takes years of hard work and good genes. Much harder than pumping drugs into your body and have some permanent damage to your organs. Through my years I have seen many friends pass away due to steroids, which was their choice. Stay clean and live a healthy and long life.

  • Gabriela

    Because of guys like him my husband want to use this stuff again. I WANT TO BE BIG he keep saying, well he should think about the SEX that we don’t have (he can’t manage), his HAIR LOSS and the fact that i can lift almost heavy like him (without any drug, only eating a good ratio protein-carb-fat). It’s better i divorce and get remarried with a REAL man…

  • Steroids will kill you. Only a few people in denial of this fact.

    • Leinsterlion

      Its not steroids its all the other shit they take, diuretics etc

  • Adrian Stanciu

    Take it easy with them proteins, guys. A lot of bodybuilders reach dialysis because of protein overload. There’s a video on tube of George Farrah where he explains it in more detail.

  • dfcvda .

    `his heart was weak` It should have been fit and healthy??


    Lets be honest and real about bodybuilding, it would be no different if we had a contest for crack smokers. This sport is simply out of control with drug addiction and abuse. Most, if not all these pro bodybuilders will die young and usually aweful and suffering death’s. The human body is not meant to be pushed to the limits with growth hormone and massive stacks of steroids. Drug addicts are drug addicts……PERIOD



  • Big Joe

    Sorry to hear of this, I had the opportunity to train with him at a gym in Kamloops B.C. Canada and we were the only two in the gym at the time. Very nice guy and I’m glad to have had the pleasure meeting him in person. RIP

  • Robert Rodriquez

    im saddened to hear about the loss of nasser. as we all know steroids and hgh with high protein diets play a big part of his death. many bodybuilders that have died from 30 to 40s from Mr Ripped to Don Youngblood its always the same suspect. steroids = heart attack or multi organ failure cancer the list goes on. now was it all worth it ?

    to get that big but then your rotting inside. of course not we all wanna live long healthy lives. i myself was involved in bodybuilding when i was younger and just wanna say to all you guys who are considering doing steroids. work out hard and do it all natural. you dont need steroids be happy with your results and yourself. Remember Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior Made Us and Loves Us. not for how big you are or can get. HE wants us to live a life for Him in Love with The Savior. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 2-corinthians 4:18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. REMEMBER YOUR A CHILD OF THE KING NOTHING IN THIS WORLD WILL SATISFY YOU.<<


  • poulsen

    Well with all the products for muscle building, stabilizing he was taking, no wonder the heart and kidney were ruined. Now all that remains is his poor mothers tears. No one could have saved him because he was stubborn and his brief success is due to that, ironically. Rest in peace Nasser. My condolences to his family.

  • charles

    the mr. o title means nothing its just a show, but your achievement was yours and nobody gave it to you, you earned it. like a title that is bestowed upon men, men achieve and earn with their sweat not by titles given to them, your achievement was real, the titles are just words. Their will always be shows and many titles to be replaced and judges that are biased or the luck of corruption. we achievers know what we have earned, and we will let, even in the agony of silence, the breaths we took be our judge.

  • Gabe23

    I agree they use more than they anyone should but it’s also the way the public wants them as big as shredded as possible and order to , you need to pump it . I have competed yes I used gh and other gear and if you want to compete at that level and get sponsors , it’s the only way to live it ! I agree that most don’t do enough cardio or eat clean year round as they do for a show but until sponsors and NPC and Weider Co. MR. O see that it’s not fair for the competitors to have to push so much through there system instead more like the past yrs. prior to GH , IGF-1 , insulin and juice . Frank Zane, Lee Lebrada, even Arnold and Lou . I met Lou yrs. ago and he was huge , prior to Gh. So it can be done. Maybe not as shredded, paper thin skin but still large, lean , healthier . Nass was doing what ever pro does, trying to make a living and gambling at the sametime . You can’t tell me most pro’s in any sport , if you knew you could win the champ/title. But you’ll die or be not in the best of health 10 yrs. down the road you wouldn’t either . If you say No, then you never competed for a championship or in a highly competitive sport .

  • Mark AMS

    Sorry ..but alot of people here comment like a real endocrinology medical assistant or better ..Ok experts…so tell me why a million people around the world to combine somatotropin , IGF:1 , insulin (diabetics for all life ) boldenona , oxymetholona ( old anadrol ) alots of testos …and dont forget the diuretics for ripped and possed for the judges …and that number is more every year ..but that people dont die ..why? is like all the cases …one big man with a big name died and all people say chemical ( because is not only esteroids anabolics ) and dont forget the pain killers …do u remember andeas muntzer ? mike matarrazo and can continue ….well but i can tell u who is alive now …more of 95% of all the bodybuilders still alive ..soo? this is bodybuilding …the more bigger muscle or form in the earth …best genetics …best 24/7 respect diet ,,and no bullshit …is a lifestyle ..and I tell u alls IF I DIE …I DIE WITH HONOR …NOT LIKE A BODYCOWARD. REPECT TO MY BROTHERS .

  • Mike for

    Rest in Peace Nasser. One of the greatest of his generation.
    All the team at express our condolences to his family and friends.

  • Tony

    Have some fuckin respect. The man loved the sport and lived for it day and night. He knew the risks, so none of you should talk bad about him or slander the Olympia competition in any way. If you prefer natural, fine, but dont reflect your insecurities on others.

  • Jason Breyer

    It’s funny when a car racer dies it’s a shame, they don’t say, “man that guy was driving too fast” or “should have done this” or that. He was a bodybuilder, he died doing what he loved to do. Just because your life sucks, don’t try to shit on others.

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