Rich Piana was a famous bodybuilder, businessman, and television personality who was born in Glendale, California, on September 26, 1970. He won many titles during his career as a bodybuilder and was famous for his physique. Sadly, he died from a sudden cardiac arrest on August 25, 2017. Here are ten fun facts about Rich Piana.
His Mother was Also a Bodybuilder
Bodybuilding is something that runs in his family as Rich Piana’s mother was also a competitive bodybuilder. His father is an Italian and his mother is Armenian. Piana experienced problems growing up because of his Italian ancestry. Instead of hanging out with his friends, he would go to the gym to watch his mother train for her competitions.
He Began Training at the Age of Eleven
Piana enjoyed spending time at the gym with his mother so much that he decided to begin training himself. He took up weightlifting at the age of just 11. In addition to his mother being an influence, he was also influenced by a bodybuilder called Bill Cambra, who Piana described as being old-school.
He Won Titles as a Teen
By the time he was in his teens, Rich Piana was already taking part in bodybuilding competitions and there were many of these that he won. One such title was Mr. Teen California. This was a sign of what the future would hold because, as an adult, Rich Piana also won Mr. California.
He Appeared in Several Television Commercials
Although Rich Piana’s main career was bodybuilding, he did get involved in some television work. This predominantly involved him appearing in television commercials. However, he also made several cameo appearances in television series, including in ‘Scrubs’ and in ‘Malcolm in the Middle’.
He Admitted Taking Anabolic Steroids
Rich Piana admitted that he had taken anabolic steroids for the majority of his career. In fact, he once said that it was a necessary factor in competing at a high-level in bodybuilding. He later advised young people that this was a bad thing to do and that it could cause irreversible damage to your body. He said that he took the risk while being fully aware of the dangers to his health but that he would tell people to avoid doing it if possible.
He Was Married Twice
Piana was married twice and his first marriage ended in divorce after he strayed. His second wife was Sara Heimisdottir, an Icelandic bodybuilder, in 2015. The following year, the couple separated and Piana accused her of just using him so she could qualify for residence in the United States. He also accused her of stealing money. This led to the marriage being annulled on the basis that it had taken place under false pretenses.
Chanel Jenson Was His Girlfriend
Before his first marriage, he had a relationship with Chanel Jansen, a fitness model. They then had an on-again-off-again relationship in between his marriages and after his second marriage had ended. Chanel Jenson was his girlfriend at the time of his death and was present when he initially collapsed.
He Had a Huge Social Media Following
Even after he retired from bodybuilding, Rich Piana had a huge following on social media. In fact, on Instagram alone, he had 1.2 million followers. He used various social media channels to show off his skills and to promote his business.
He Had His Own Business
While Rich Piana is best-known for his talents as a bodybuilder, he was also an astute businessman. He began a business called ‘Rich Piana: 5% Nutrition’. The 5% was intended to symbolize the 5% of the population who actually follow their dreams.
He Was in a Coma for Two Weeks Prior to His Death
Rich Piana was in a coma for two weeks before he died. He had collapsed from a sudden cardiac arrest and hit his head in the bathroom at home while his girlfriend was cutting his hair. He was attended to by paramedics before being cared for in hospital where he remained in a coma. His girlfriend and family kept fans updated with his condition via social media. Sadly, he died two weeks after the cardiac arrest. Although there was speculation that his use of anabolic steroids had contributed to his death, this was not confirmed as a toxicology report was not conducted as part of his autopsy.