Fitness Expert and Former Bodybuilder John Meadows Dies 'Unexpectedly and Peacefully' at 49

"With his 'give first' mentality, John helped millions achieve better fitness and video at a time," John Meadows' family said of the bodybuilder

john meadows
Photo: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Former bodybuilder John Meadows, who took his fitness expertise to YouTube where he amassed more than half a million followers, died at his home this weekend.

"This morning John passed away unexpectedly and peacefully in their home," read a note posted to Meadows' Facebook account on Sunday on behalf of his wife, Mary. "As you can imagine, this is a complete shock to her and the boys."

"She will update as soon as she can," the message continued. "Please know she is very thankful for all the prayers and support she knows her and the boys will receive from you all."

The cause of the 49-year-old's death was not publicly revealed by the family as of Tuesday afternoon. Meadows — who also went by his nickname, Mountain Dog — is survived by Mary and their two sons, the New York Post reported.

Meadows was diagnosed with idiopathic myointimal hyperplasia of the mesenteric veins in 2005, the outlet said. It is an "uncommon and poorly understood" condition that occurs in the colon of relatively young and healthy men, according to a paper published in Gastroenterology & Hepatology. It is unclear where this contributed to his death.

Meadows continued to compete in bodybuilding tournaments after the diagnosis and earned first place in the 2015 NPC Universe competition in the Masters Over 40 category.

On YouTube, Meadows spread his love of bodybuilding to his dedicated fans, and his videos — including many shoulders, triceps and chest workouts — amassed more than 82 million views.

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A GoFundMe benefitting Meadows' family was started by fellow social media fitness expert Jeff Cavaliere of Athlean-X.

"As physically strong as John was, his greatest strength was his dedication as a father and husband," Cavaliere wrote on the donation page, in part. "Never one to miss a football practice with his boys or to show off their newest yo-yo trick in a video, John's motto was 'family first', and he lived it every day."

"I personally am beyond shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of John," he added. "He was and will always go down as one of the true gentlemen in this industry. There's not a soul alive that could say anything but great things about him. ... I'm honored to have had the chance to learn from you."

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