Karekin Simonian, a leading figure in bodybuilding, has died at the age of 86 ©Twitter

A leading figure in the development of bodybuilding in Armenia has died at the age of 86. 

Karekin Simonian had been granted the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness Gold Medal for his contribution to the sport.

For more than 50 years Simonian had dedicated his time and expertise to the development of sports in Iraq and other countries in the Middle East, Australia, Armenia, United States of America and Canada, promoting bodybuilding in all these countries.

He shared his enthusiasm for bodybuilding with an equal appreciation of weightlifting.

Born in Iraq in 1932 to an Armenian family, Simonian held joint Australian and American citizenship. 

Besides bodybuilding and weightlifting, he was involved in many humanitarian, social, and educational organisations, including the Armenian Relief Society.