Legendary Bodybuilder Dave Draper Has Passed Away At 79 Years Old

Dave Draper, known as “The Blonde Bomber” won many titles in his career.

Legendary bodybuilder Dave Draper has passed away at the age of 79. Draper’s wife, Laree, made an announcement on Facebook on Tuesday morning to confirm the news. There was no cause of death disclosed but Laree did say that it was “calm and peaceful.”

“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.”

Dave Draper put together an extremely successful career as a bodybuilder. A native of Secaucus, NJ, Draper began lifting weights at a young age and was on a bodybuilding stage at 21 years old. This is when he won the Mr. New Jersey title. Once he found some success, Draper moved out to Santa Monica, CA to train alongside bodybuilding legends such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane, and Franco Columbu.


Mr. New Jersey was the first major victory of Dave Draper’s career. Others included the 1965 Mr. America, 1966 Mr. Universe, and 1970 Mr. World. Draper also appeared in the 1967 Olympia competition where he finished fourth behind Sergio Oliva, Chuck Sipes, and Harold Poole.

Following a successful career in bodybuilding, Dave Draper would venture into other avenues. Like many athletes with incredible size, Draper made an appearance on the big screen and in multiple TV shows. Draper was featured on magazine covers and even began writing on his own. Draper published many works, including an online newsletter. This is where he continued to share insight on training and fitness. This newsletter continued up until 2019. His most famous piece of work remains his book entitled Iron Brother, Sister Steel.

Draper made an impact on bodybuilding because of his incredible size and ability to compete with some of the best in the world. He was multi-talented and this was highlighted following his career on stage. Draper is survived by his wife, Laree.

Generation Iron wants to send condolences to friends and family of Dave Draper during this time. For more news and updates, follow Generation Iron on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Greg Patuto
Greg has covered the four major sports for six years and has been featured on sites such as Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports, SB Nation, NJ.com, and FanSided. Now, he is transitioning into the world of bodybuilding and strength sports.