Dave Draper dead: Arnold Schwarzenneger pays tribute as bodybuilder dies

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Arnold described his bodybuilding friend Draper as ‘fantastic’ (Pictue: Getty Images)

Arnold Schwarzenegger has paid tribute to his longtime friend and bodybuilder Dave Draper who has died. 

Draper’s wife Laree announced that the 79-year-old had died on Tuesday but a cause of death was not given. 

After the news broke, Arnold shared a black and white throwback photo of him and Draper back in their bodybuilding days, posing with their trophies following a tournament. 

Heartbroken, he wrote in the caption: ‘Dave Draper was an inspiration to millions of people all over the world, including me. He was one of my idols. In Austria, I kept his cover of Muscle Builder magazine on the wall above my bed for motivation, and when I saw him starring in “Don’t Make Waves”, I thought, “My dreams are possible.” 

‘When I got to America and finally met Dave, I learned his heart was as big as his pecs. He even hand-built my first furniture when I moved to Santa Monica, and let me tell you, he was talented. Can you imagine meeting your idol and becoming his training partner and traveling all over the world together? I was in heaven.’ 

Arnold, 74, praised Draper for being welcoming when the Terminator actor moved from Austria to the US, while also describing his late friend as a ‘fantastic training partner’ who inspired others in the gym to ‘be better’. 

‘He was an amazing writer and a great family man,’ Arnold stated. 

‘I will miss the Blond Bomber, but his memory will always be with me. My thoughts are with Laree and the whole family.’ 

It’s believed Arnold and Draper trained together at Gold’s Gym alongside other bodybuilding icons such as Frank Zane, Mike Katz and Franco Columbu. 

Draper won several competitions throughout his career, including the Mr New Jersey Contest, Mr America, Mr Universe and Mr World. 

Sharing news of his death, his wife Laree wrote in a Facebook post: ‘Hi, friends, as the word’s getting out, I wanted to let you know so there’s no confusion.

‘Dave died early this morning. I was with him and it was calm and peaceful. It, as his doctor told me a little while ago, was a good death.’ 

Arnold had a successful bodybuilding career and won Mr Universe at the age of 20 before becoming a Hollywood star with iconic films such as The Terminator, Predator, True Lies and Running Man.

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