Aditya Dev, known as the world’s smallest bodybuilder, has died at age 23.
The India native could only lift 10 pounds, but, at 2 feet, 9 inches tall and weighing 19 pounds, that actually accounted for half of his body weight, Aditya Dev told Good Morning America in 2009.
Though his feats of strength and tiny size gave him notoriety, Aditya Dev, known as Romeo, knew that his health was fragile. Four years before his death, Dev had been diagnosed with two brain aneurisms, a common symptom among dwarves, and doctors told him that at any time they could burst and lead to a fatal stroke.
The world’s tiniest bodybuilder fell ill in his native India and was rushed to Satyam Hospital in Punjab, but doctors there were unable to revive him, ABC News noted.
Doctors noted that there was little chance of saving Dev once he reached the hospital
“He was brought to the hospital in an unconscious state,” Dr. Nerraj Chandanone told the Daily Mail. “It was due to massive bleeding which had caused brain damage or aneurism bleeding. There were very rare chances of him surviving.”
Aditya Dev’s parents said they were devastated by the news.
His father, Anil Dev Sharma, recounted the events leading up to Aditya Dev’s death:
“He was absolutely fine until last night when he suddenly fell unconscious We rushed him to the hospital and he fell into a coma, he was unconscious all night. Doctors said the nerve supplying blood to his brain had ruptured, causing his death. It’s a huge loss for our family, we will be grieving his death for the rest of our life. We were told by doctors many years ago that he may die at an early age. All these years we prayed for his long life.”
Even though he had a small body, Aditya Dev always dreamed big.
“From the very beginning I liked lifting the dumbbells and lifting weights,” Aditya Dev had said through a translator. “I used to watch wrestling when I was a small kid and that’s how I got inspired.”
Aditya Dev got validation for his work in 2006 when the Guinness Book of World Records named him the world’s smallest bodybuilder.