The Italian bodybuilder who was closely associated with fellow bodybuilder and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger lost his life after drowning on the eastern coast of Sardinia. Columbo died on his way to the hospital in the helicopter.
Columbo rose through the ranks by winning the Mr. Olympia titles twice in 1976 and 1981. He initially started his career as a boxer before transitioning himself into weightlifting, powerlifting, and bodybuilding.
Schwarzenegger held a long-term friendship with Columbo after meeting him in 1965. The duo competed against each other and were encouraged to make their way to America later on. Columbo appeared in several of Schwarzenegger’s movies which include The Terminator, Conan The Barbarian and The Running Man. Their association knew no bounds with Columbo standing as his mate’s best man during his wedding.
The demise of Columbo brought forward an emotional response by Schwarzenegger who proceeded to pay a tribute to his long-time pal. He said:
“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.”