A FORMER champion bodybuilder has spoken out about how they have been struck down of their prime and virtually died after a horror well being battle.

Mike Francois, 58, a former Nationwide Champion and Arnold Basic champion, was one of many rising stars of bodybuilding within the Nineties – usually seen as the game’s golden age.


Mike Francois was one of many rising stars of bodybuilding within the Nineties


He gained the Arnold Basic in 1995Credit: YouTube/World Bodybuilding Archive


Mike, left, pictured with Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1997Credit: Instagram

His path to weightlifting glory was very totally different to most, because the Ohio native initially educated to be a priest.

In reality, he was within the remaining 12 months of his eight years of seminary examine when he fell in love with a lady, deserted his holy orders, and turned as an alternative to his different ardour, bodybuilding.

He was well-known for the massive quantity of mass he stacked onto his 5ft8in body, in addition to his exceptional symmetry and proportions.

After exploding onto the scene within the early Nineties, Mike appeared destined to grow to be one of many all-time greats following a string of successes.

He positioned seventh on the 1995 Mr Olympia, additionally successful the Arnold Basic and Evening of Champions that very same 12 months.

To this present day, he stays the one bodybuilder to win in his first 4 professional exhibits.

However in 1997, the match and wholesome 32-year-old was struck down by a horror illness which left him confined to a hospital mattress.

In 2013, Mike informed journalist John Meadows about his horror expertise with ulcerative colitis.

He mentioned he first suffered signs of the digestive illness again in 1996, however they grew to become extra pronounced in 1997.

“I used to be hospitalised three weeks previous to the Mr Olympia in 1997,” he mentioned. “I saved it fully quiet from everybody besides my spouse.”

Though he struggled by means of the present, he carried out poorly and was placed on medicines to try to deal with the situation.

However though medical doctors gave him the all-clear to compete within the Arnold within the spring of 1998, one week earlier than, he was rushed to hospital once more.

“Finally (I) had my colon eliminated a couple of days later,” he mentioned. “In a second surgical procedure 12 weeks later that 12 months to reattach my small gut, I bumped into many problems and truly was in an induced coma for per week or so.”

I used to be given my final rites twice by a priest and my household was informed by my medical doctors that my life was in God’s palms

Mike FrancoisFormer champion bodybuilder

On high of ulcerative colitis, Mike additionally came upon he had disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), a uncommon however severe situation that causes irregular blood clotting all through the physique’s blood vessels.

Among the many problems from his vary of illnesses have been pneumonia and even complete organ failure.

Mike’s household have been even warned to organize for his dying, and a priest was referred to as to his hospital mattress.

He went on: “I later realized that I used to be given my final rites twice by a priest and my household was informed by my medical doctors that my life was in God’s palms and that that they had performed all they may do.”

Mike mentioned of his experiences: “It taught me that life is brief and one ought to worth each day.”

Though his bodybuilding competing days have been over, Mike has recovered effectively and nonetheless appears exceptional right this moment.

He’s a licensed private coach and Worldwide Federation of Bodybuilding (IFBB) skilled.

His Ohio-based firm, Francois Health Consultants, designs customised health packages for individuals of all skills.

Mike has additionally written various articles on weight coaching and diet and was inducted into Joe Weider’s Muscle & Health IFBB Corridor of Fame.

Within the 2013 interview, Mike additionally mentioned his adolescence, and the way he made the swap from preaching to pumping iron.

He initially obtained a soccer scholarship at Iowa State, however after tearing his ligaments throughout a recreation in highschool senior 12 months, he was pressured to surrender the game.

After prayer and introspection, Mike determined his true calling was to be a priest, so he entered to seminary at Loras Faculty in Dubuque, Iowa.

Right now, he additionally lifted weights as a technique to keep in form after he may not play soccer.

After graduating from Loras in 1987, he was assigned to the Josephinum Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, a four-year program of examine on high of the 4 years he had already spent learning to grow to be a priest.

Mike mentioned: “Throughout my seventh 12 months of the eight, I met a lady, fell in love and didn’t return for my remaining 12 months and ordination.”

With the additional time on his palms, Mike devoted his life to bodybuilding and, that very same 12 months, he determined to compete in his first bodybuilding competitors.

In 1993, he turned professional and his life modified without end.

Talking about his regrets to journalist Lori Kurtzman, Mike mentioned: “I by no means obtained to complete what I began.”

Along with his exceptional work ethic and wonderful genetics, there isn’t a doubt in many individuals’s minds that he would have been one of many high within the sport have been it not for a merciless coincidence.


He was struck down in his prime in 1997Credit: Instagram/tlmfitnessjourney


Mike initially educated to grow to be a priest earlier than bodybuildingCredit: Mike Francois


Right this moment he’s a profitable private trainerCredit: Fb

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