Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Emotional Tribute to Late Best Bud Bodybuilder Franco Columbu

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best friend, Franco Columbu is dead! He paid an emotional tribute to him reminiscing about the bond they shared, and the impact they had on each other’s life.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has a big hole in his heart, left by his best friend, Franco Columbu, who recently passed away. He shared on Instagram a photo slide of their times together over the years and accompanied the photos with an emotional tribute.


“Franco,” the actor began, “You’ve heard me say I don’t like when people call me a self-made man. You’ve heard me say you are part of the reason I could never accept that label,” he wrote.

Schwarzenegger said that from the time they met in Munich, 

“You were my partner in crime; we pushed each other, we competed against each other, and we laughed at every moment along the way.” 

The “True Lies” star noted that when he migrated in the ’60s to America, he felt lonely until Columbu came to join him. He wrote, 

“I could thrive without money, without my parents, but I couldn’t thrive without you.”


The former Governor of California wrote that although he was devastated, he is grateful for the 54-year friendship they shared. He pledged to always be there for Columbu’s wife, Debbie, and daughter, Maria.

former Mr. Olympia and Mr. Universe, Franco Columbu attends "Cinema Italian Style: New Films From Italy" on June 4, 2004 | Photo: Getty Images

former Mr. Olympia and Mr. Universe, Franco Columbu attends "Cinema Italian Style: New Films From Italy" on June 4, 2004 | Photo: Getty Images

Schwarzenegger also wrote, 

“My life was more fun, more colorful, and more complete because of you.”

In the end, the “Eraser” star continued, 

“I love you Franco; I’ll always remember the joy you brought to my life, the advice that you gave me, and the twinkle in your eye that never disappeared. You were my best friend.”


Columbu died in his native Sardinia on Friday, after falling ill upon returning from a swim. He was 78-year-old. Although he lived in Los Angeles, he visited the Italian Island for three weeks in August, every year.

In the bodybuilder’s lifetime, he won two Mr Olympia and three Mr Universe awards. Despite being of medium build, he competed against people taller than him and won, making the deceased an inspiration to a lot of people.

Columbu is one of the greatest bodybuilders ever, and the “Giant Killer,” also starred in some Schwarzenegger’s movies like, “Conan the Barbarian,” and “Terminator.”

In ’86, when the Austrian-born actor married Maria Shriver, the deceased served as his best man and is the godfather to his best friend’s daughter, Christina.

In a post shared on social media by Maria, she called him “Loving, supportive, and encouraging to the end,” adding that the friendship between the two men was the “Real deal.” 

Columbu was also a vocal supporter of Schwarzenegger, and although he no longer walks the earth, he will cheer his best friend on, from the great beyond.

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