A body building world champion that transformed the sport forever has died at the age of 44. He had just announced big plans.

Body building icon Cedric McMillan has died at the age of 44.

The Arnold Classic champion’s death was confirmed by Generation Iron on Wednesday (AEST).

He suffered a heart attack while on a treadmill, according to the outlet.

McMillan’s death comes after he opened up about past heart issues and had a near-death experience last year, The Sun reports.

The bodybuilder had been delaying his return to competitive bodybuilding over health issues, but had appeared optimistic about being able to come back in recent months.

“RIP Cedric McMillan. We are very sad to report that Cedric passed away at 44 years old,” Generation Iron tweeted.

“GI sends condolences to friends and family during this time.”

Tributes to the bodybuilding star started pouring in following news of his passing.

“R.I.P. to one of my favourite bodybuilders and best personality in professional bodybuilding Cedric McMillan,” read one tweet.

McMillan won the Arnold Classic in 2017.

He was known for bringing the “classic” look back to Men’s Open bodybuilding.

After a near-death experience in December 2021, McMillan spoke of his health issues, saying he had been experiencing breathing issues after having Covid-19.

The breathing issue eventually saw him hospitalised for pneumonia, and put on life support.

“I was almost dead,” he said of the ordeal.

Those who say they knew him have taken to social media in memory of McMillan.

“I’ll never forget when @CedricMcMillan commented on my home gym & joked he was coming over to train,” fitness trainer Matt Weik wrote.

“He was everything this industry needed. We’ve lost WAY too many lately. Thank you for your service and for what you’ve brought to the industry. RIP Cedric.”

RXMuscle confirmed McMillan’s death in a post on Facebook and said he will always be remembered for his “generosity toward fans.”

“He gave his time and energy towards connecting and inspiring, completely aware of his stature as a bodybuilding icon.” RXMuscle wrote.

“Cedric was an American hero, who was proud to be an American and to serve his country in our armed forces. We will never forget his service to our country.

“A dedicated family man, Cedric was a pure inspiration for bodybuilders and people to look up to. He will be greatly missed, by all.”

— This story originally appeared on thesun.co.uk and has been republished with permission

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