Bodybuilder Lee Banks Dies at 51

lee bank dies
Image via Instagram @coachleebanks

IFBB Pro bodybuilder Lee Banks took his last breath after battling cancer. 

International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Pro bodybuilder Lee Banks died on February 2nd, 2023, at 51 years of age. He passed away at the Mayo Clinic & Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. His wife, Lafayette Banks, released the news of his death on Facebook. 

According to his wife, Lee Banks’ cause of death was from a stage 4 cancerous carcinoid tumor in his intestines diagnosis in 2020 — early signs were revealed when he noticed a change in his metabolism while preparing for a 2018 bodybuilding show. Lafayette Banks commented on Facebook:

“With an unbearable sorrow and seemingly insurmountable grief I let you know that at Mayo Clinic & Hospital Jacksonville on Thursday, February 2, 2023, in the 2100 (9pm) hour, my greatest love earned his wings and returned his soul to the house of our LORD forever.

In 2018 while in competition preparation @Lee became aware of an extreme change in his metabolism. For many months his medical labs and exams read normal and extremely healthy. Yet, he knew and he persisted. In 2020, a stage 4 cancerous carcinoid tumor was finally revealed in his intestines. After many battles, my warrior passed away from complications with carcinoid syndrome. Keep in mind that he was more than a bodybuilder. He was a soldier exposed to the perils of war.

I only ask for time, time to come back to myself, to feel my legs under me, to comfort our children, to simply miss my husband, my love, my partner in all things, my sole provider and soul provider. And then with HIS DIVINE GRACE and your assistance, we will celebrate his talent, honor his gift, preserve his legacy, and continue his service for a lifetime.”

Bodybuilding Career and Life 


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A post shared by Lee Banks (@coachleebanks)

Lee Banks’ bodybuilding career began decades ago, in 2002, at the National Physique Committee (NPC) All South Championships in the heavyweight division, where he finished 6th. He competed in the NPC for about eight years. Then he earned his pro card in the IFBB Pro League after winning the 2010 North American Championships heavyweight division and overall. 

Banks transitioned to the Men’s Open division in 2013 and had great success with top seven placements at multiple shows, including the 2011 Orlando Pro, 2012 and 2013 Tamp Pro, and 2013 Chicago Pro. 

Although Lee Banks was a competitive Open bodybuilder, he shined the brightest in the Classic Physique. In his debut, he finished runner-up in 2017 at the Chicago Pro and placed in the top ten at the 2017 Olympia. Lee Banks’ last show was the 2019 Atlantic Coast Pro; he finished second place. 

Outside of bodybuilding, Lee Banks was an entrepreneur — he owned a successful fitness studio and two early learning centers. In addition, he was a promoter of the Natural Gym Association, a natural bodybuilding federation. 

Lee Banks also had an event in the works before his death that’ll take place in May of 2023 — all earnings from the show will be donated to cancer research. 

Generation Iron wishes condolences to Lee Banks’ family, friends, and the bodybuilding community. 

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Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.