The International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) has paid tribute to Franco Columbu following his death in Italy at the age of 78.
Italian Columbu competed in the inaugural World's Strongest Man competition in 1977 and won Mr Olympia titles in 1976 and 1981.
The Sardinia native died in hospital after he was taken ill while swimming at sea off the coast at San Teodoro.
"Bodybuilding is in mourning," the IFBB said in a statement.
"Everyone is in shock and sad with the passing of legendary Franco Columbu.
"We concede our deepest condolences to the family."
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Franco, You’ve heard me say that I don’t like when people call me a self-made man. You’ve even heard me say that you’re part of the reason I could never accept that label. But I wanted you to know why. From the minute we met in Munich, you were my partner in crime. We pushed each other, we competed with each other, and we laughed at every moment along the way. When I finally got to America, I was alone. I’d left my family, my country, my whole life behind. So when I asked Joe Weider to bring you to train with me, it was because I knew I wasn’t the same without my best friend. I could thrive without money, without my parents, but I couldn’t thrive without you. I am devastated today. But I am also so, so grateful for the 54 years of friendship and joy we shared. The pumps, the chess games, the construction work, the meals, the pranks, the life lessons - we did it all together. We grew and we learned and we loved. My life was more fun, more colorful, and more complete because of you. I will always miss you. But I’ll also know that a part of you lives on in me, in Debbie, in Maria, and in the millions of people you inspired every day you lived. And I will be there for Maria and Debbie, so you can rest now with no worries. I love you Franco. I will always remember the joy you brought to my life, the advices you gave me, and the twinkle in your eye that never disappeared. You were my best friend. Love always, Arnold
Columbu was a training partner of Arnold Schwarzenegger and he appeared alongside him in The Terminator, the Running Man and Conan the Barbarian films.
He went on to become and actor and producer in Hollywood.
Following, Columbu's death, Austrian Schwarzenegger took to social media to pay tribute to his "best friend".
On his Instagram account, Schwarzenegger said he was "grateful for the 54 years of friendship and joy" the duo shared.
"The pumps, the chess games, the construction work, the meals, the pranks, the life lessons - we did it all together," Schwarzenegger added.
"We grew and we learned and we loved. My life was more fun, more colorful, and more complete because of you.
"I will always miss you."