“One of My Arteries Is 70% Blocked”: Just When Bodybuilders Were Dying 18 Months Ago, 3-Time Olympia Runners-up Recalls His Own Close Encounter With Death

In the world of bodybuilding, stories of physical prowess, dedication, and impeccable physiques often overshadow the hidden health battles that many professionals face. Recent revelations by the bodybuilding legend, Rich Gaspari, during an appearance on the Flex Lewis | Straight Outta The Lair Podcast, bring to light the silent threats that even the fittest among us can confront.

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Rich Gaspari, a three-time Mr. Olympia Runners-Up, recounted a harrowing experience with heart health. Which serves as a wake-up call for many. Leading to the discovery that a C-core – essentially a calcium deposit – had formed in his arteries. The severity was such that medical intervention became imminent.

A glimpse into Rich Gaspari’s experience


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Rather than undergoing a traditional open-heart surgery, Gaspari shed light on modern medical techniques. Physicians can now examine a patient’s heart through a less invasive procedure involving the wrist. The advanced procedure allows patients to stay awake during the operation. In Gaspari’s case, this exploratory procedure showed that one of his arteries had a staggering 70% blockage. As he says in the video, “they saw one of my arteries um was 70% blocked”.

The revelation would alarm anyone, but what followed shocked even more. The artery known as the ‘Widowmaker,’ one of the heart’s primary channels, was the one in question. But Gaspari’s body, in a miraculous turn of events over two decades, formed what doctors term a God’s bypass. “My body in the 20 years formed a bypass it’s called a God’s bypass where even though that artery was getting blocked my body formed other arteries to feed the heart”.

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Even with the significant blockage, his body developed alternative arteries to ensure that the heart received an adequate blood supply. This natural bypass wasn’t just a testament to Gaspari’s resilience, but also a miracle that probably saved his life. His doctors opted to address the blockage by inserting a stent. Due to the alternative channels feeding the heart, the widowmaker was left untouched. It’s within this context of physical resilience and unseen vulnerabilities that we emphasize the importance of regular health assessments.

Beyond the bodybuilding: The importance of health check-ups


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Gaspari’s close encounter with potential tragedy underscores the significance of maintaining good health and regular medical check-ups. For those who idolize bodybuilders and their lifestyle, it’s a reminder that beneath the muscle and might, the same vulnerabilities exist.

As Gaspari himself emphasized, the importance of staying healthy, eating right, and tailoring training to one’s age cannot be stressed enough. He further advocated for regular check-ups, especially for those over 50, to monitor heart health and other potential concerns.


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In a world where news of bodybuilders passing away was all too familiar just 18 months ago, Gaspari’s story serves as both a cautionary tale and an inspiration. However, it’s a powerful testament to the body’s resilience, the advancements in modern medicine, and the undying spirit of a legend who has dedicated his life to the art and sport of bodybuilding.

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