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Dave Draper was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bodybuilding hero, someone who helped bring the sport to life in the early 1960s. Basically, Draper was a bodybuilding pioneer.
Understandably, Schwarzenegger was torn up by the news that Draper died earlier this week at the age of 79.
“In Austria, I kept his photo on the wall above my bed for motivation,” Schwarzenegger wrote on social media.
Draper’s wife, Laree Draper, made the announcement on Facebook on Tuesday.
“Dave died early this morning,” she wrote. “I was with him and it was calm and peaceful. It, as his doctor told me a little while ago, was a good death.”
Draper began bodybuilding as a teenager and won the Mr. New Jersey title in 1962 at the age of 21. He went on to win Mr. Universe just four years later.
Along with that, he starred in a number of television shows and movies in the 1960s, including “Don’t Make Waves,” with the late Sharon Tate in 1967.
Schwarzenegger eventually want on to a similar — albeit much more notable — bodybuilding and acting career, forming a bond with Draper.
“He couldn’t have been more welcoming, and he always pushed everyone around him in the gym to be better,” Schwarzenegger wrote. “He was an amazing writer and a great family man.”
“I will miss the Blond Bomber, but his memory will always be with me. My thoughts are with Laree and the family.”