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The world of bodybuilding lost one of its most iconic competitors this week as Ed Corney, member of the IFBB Hall of Fame and one of the featured subjects in Pumping Iron, passed away on January 1 at the age of 85.
Corney’s career began in 1967, when he entered—and won—his very first contest, the Mr. Fremont in Fremont, California. The victories just kept on coming for Corney, and the very next year, he was crowned Mr. Heart of California, Mr. Northern California, and Mr. Golden West. Some of his biggest wins came a few years later in 1972, when he was crowned IFBB’s Mr. America, Mr. Universe, and Mr. USA.
Like so many other bodybuilders at the time, his most high-profile appearance in the mainstream came in 1977’s Pumping Iron, where his graceful flexing routine caused a young Arnold Schwarzenegger to exclaim, “That’s what I call posing.”
It was more than just razor-sharp aesthetics that made his posing routine legendary—Corney was lauded for his transitions, moving from one pose to another with fluidity and elegance. The nimble Corney continued to bring beauty to bodybuilding well into the ‘90s, when the Masters Olympia came calling. At age 60, Corney was again on the stage, winning the over-60 category in ’94 and ’95, and placing 11th overall in ’96.
In 2004, Corney took his rightful place in the IFBB Hall of Fame, joining other bodybuilding legends like Lou Ferrigno, Franco Columbu, Eugen Sandow, Frank Zane, Larry Scott, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Below is just a sampling of the heartfelt reactions shared on social media from around the bodybuilding world.
Ed Corney was a jewel of a guy. He was one of the greatest posers bodybuilding has ever seen, and he was a fantastic training partner. He inspired me and I’ll miss him dearly. My thoughts are with his family.
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) January 2, 2019
Safe journey me friend.
You were always an inspiration to many like me.
RIP. Ed Corney pic.twitter.com/CYrzjXKEzY
— shawn ray (@sugarshawnray) January 2, 2019