South African Bodybuilder Dies After Backflip Gone Wrong During Competition

A bodybuilder who became an internet sensation after making a hash of an attempted backflip during a competition has died from the injuries he sustained from the stunt.

Sifiso Lungelo Thabete had been playing to the crowd during a contest on the weekend but his backflip went horribly wrong when he didn’t rotate far enough and landed on the back of his head, breaking his neck instantly.

In this shocking footage, Thabete — who was originally from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa — can be seen walking towards the centre of the gym before breaking into a jog and waving to the crowd, encouraging them to get involved.

Then, all of a sudden, he launches into a backflip but lands on his head. Thabete then lay completely motionless on his side before rolling onto his back as people came to his aid.

South African bodybuilding magazine Muscle Evolution released a statement that the bodybuilding community was “shocked and saddened” by the news of Thabete’s untimely death.

The magazine said that he was an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) up-to 75kg Junior World Champion who recently came first at the IFBB Muscle Mulisha Grand Prix in July.


Thabete also won the Under-23, over 75kg division of the competition held in Johannesburg. On that occasion, he successfully landed a backflip during his routine. The youngster had a bright future ahead of him and also finished runner-up in the division for senior men up to 80kg.


A post shared by Sifiso Lungelo (@sifisolungelo) on

The shocking footage went viral and people were quick to mock Thabete for his stunt-gone-wrong but then it emerged that he died from the injuries.

It’s easy to judge the people that made fun of him but, to be fair to them, it was unknown at the time that Thabete had even suffered a serious injury, let alone died, from his failed backflip.

Our thoughts go out to Thabete’s family…




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