Oli Cooney, 20, was a fitness fanatic and bodybuilding obsessive who used anabolic steroids for years. Despite suffering two heart attacks and three strokes, Cooney continually ignored advice from those around him to stop exercising. Now, the young man has died, and his family is speaking out in hopes that they can save the lives of others who are on the same path as the 20-year-old.
For some time before his death, multiple doctors advised Cooney to stop the massive amounts of weight lifting and exercising, but the stubborn man refused to end it. His family says at 18, he admitted to using anabolic steroids because he wanted to change the way he looked.
More recently, Cooney was diagnosed with chronic heart damage, and because of his diagnosis, he stopped using steroids. Still, the 20-year-old continued to exercise, and even after having two heart attacks and three strokes, he refused to stop.
On September 22, Cooney was on his way home from a night out with friends when he collapsed on the street. He was taken to a hospital but died a short time after arriving there.
Coroner Dr. Dominic Bell said that the man’s death was a result of the lasting effects of steroid abuse.
“He had this weakness that he was driven to alter his body image to become more confident in society,” said Bell, adding that Cooney’s family is not to blame for his death. “For most people what had already happened to him would have been a wake-up call but he was not willing to listen to or learn from the heart professionals. If he would not listen to them, he would not listen to you [Cooney’s family] – it does not reflect any shortfall on you.”
Cooney’s parents say that they hope his tragic death will be a lesson to others who are struggling.
“Oli was driven by a passion for bodybuilding and unfortunately it was that passion that took his life,” said Sarah Cooney, Oli’s mother. “We would not want anyone to go through the hell we have been through. We will never move on from this.”