Bodybuiler Dallas “Big County” McCarver has died at the age of 26, TMZ reported Tuesday.
McCarver, who was in a relationship with WWE Superstar Dana Brooke, died shortly after midnight August 22 and was found unconscious by a friend at his home in Florida, the news outlet reported. He was found dead shortly after speaking on the phone to Brooke, whose real name is Ashley Mae Sebera.
According to TMZ, McCarver was transported to a nearby hospital, but was pronounced dead upon arrival. There are no signs of foul play, and Brooke said she believed he died choking on a piece of food, adding there were no signs he ever intended on harming himself.
Brooke and Redcon1 CEO Aaron Singerman have since set up a GoFundMe campaign for the Dallas McCarver Foundation, a nonprofit organization that was created after following his unexpected death.
“With Dallas, every time he got a new pair of tennis shoes, he would donate one to children,” Brooke said. “So, I’m just letting you know, from Dallas looking below on us, this is something that he would love: To give back, to give back to kids.”
The Dallas McCarver Foundation seeks to provide food, clothes, toiletries, books and school supplies to children who would otherwise go without those necessities. To donate to the cause, click here.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. McCarver’s Last Words to Brooke Were ‘I Love You, Goodbye’
Brooke, who’s currently on the road with WWE, told TMZ that McCarver was about to make dinner when the two spoke on the phone during the evening August 21. She said his last words to her before hanging up the phone were, “I love you, goodbye.”
Brooke’s most recent Instagram post was eerily dedicated to McCarver. In it, she posted a photo of the couple posing together with the caption: “Still got some time left to post #mcm — someone who Day in and day out is helping and giving so much to so many people !@dallasmccarver is one of the most genuine people I have ever met.”
McCarver was found dead just one hour after Brooke’s post.
Earlier in the day, McCarver appeared to be fine, as he posted an Instagram video of him at the gym lifting 160-pound dumbbells.
2. McCarver Burst Onto the Bodybuilding Scene in 2012
McCarver burst onto the bodybuilding scene in 2012 and was noted as an “unknown newcomer” during the 2012 NPC North Americans by FlexOnline.com.
McCarver was just 21 at the time and was taking part in just his third-ever bodybuilding competition. He ended up winning the Super Heavyweight class and the Overall category and impressed many in attendance.
At that time, McCarver stood 6-foot-1 and weighed just over 300 pounds.
In the 2015 Mr. Olympia show in Las Vegas, McCarver finished 13th out of the top 24 bodybuilders in the world.
3. McCarver Found a Passion for Weightlifting Through Football
McCarver was originally from Tennessee and was an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness professional.
According to GreatestPhysiques.com, he “created a lot of buzz in the professional competition circuit, due to his gargantuan size and excellent proportionality.”
McCarver played football in high school, and that’s where he fell in love with weightlifting. His first bodybuilding show was back in 2011 at the NPC Hub City Fitness Quest, an event he won, the website wrote. He accomplished quite a phenomenal feat by earning his pro card at just 21.
A February 2016 article by the Cleveland Daily Banner described a charity event that McCarver once put on alongside his trainer Matt Jansen.
The event allowed attendees to “train and learn from the pros” and was donation based with 100 percent of the proceeds going toward Daniel Sullin, a Chattanooga, Tennessee native who was battling pancreatic cancer.
“I think that in general, we take advantage of our ability to just get up and walk out of bed, let alone our ability to be healthy and train like we do,” McCarver said to the newspaper. “This guy (Sullin), he’s not worried about being able to train and do a bodybuilding show, he just wants to live to see the next year. The least we can do is come out, have some fun and support a good cause.”
The event included a question-and-answer period, a lunch and small group training followed by an open gym session.
4. McCarver Competed at the 2017 Arnold Classic
McCarver made his debut at the Arnold Classic back in March to the approval of bodybuilding enthusiasts. His website documented his preparation for the bodybuilding competition with a series of videos and blog posts.
“At this point we are a little more than 10 weeks out, and Dallas is sitting at an incredible 330lbs,” a blog post on his website said.
McCarver ended up placing second in the Open Bodybuilding competition to Cedric McMillan, who placed first.
5. Brooke & McCarver Were Dating for Months
It’s unclear exactly how long McCarver and Brooke had been dating, however social media posts indicate their relationship had been ongoing for at least one year.
Brooke is a former bodybuilder herself, holding several championships before earning her pro card in 2012. She placed 12th at the 2013 European Arnold Classic and then 13th at the Arnold Classic in the U.S. in 2015.
In June 2013, Brooke signed a contract with WWE and started wrestling in NXT, the company’s developmental promotion. Her first TV appearance was in 2014 at a pay-per-view event.
On May 9, 2016, Brooke made her debut on the main roster, appearing on an episode of Raw alongside former NXT partner Emma.
She also took part in the 2017 Arnold Classic with McCarver while she wrestled for WWE.