by Christian Duque
It is always a very painful and sad moment when we lose a member of the bodybuilding world. While our industry seems so big and expansive at trade shows, it's really a small, tight-knit community, and it's times like this when everyone comes together. I didn't know Luke Sandoe, I haven't spoken to him on social media, in fact I don't think I've ever met him. However, he helped create something that I really, really love – bodybuilding.
It's so hard to believe he's gone. At only 30 years old, he shaped the sport indelibly. He had so much potential that he signed an important supplementary contract for five years, received the cover from Muscular Development and received top awards on stage, including a very strong 3rd place at the Arnold Classic 2019.
It's crazy because even though I never met and never spoke to him, I knew so much about him. This is something really powerful about social media and Luke was also very active with it. While some people are super introverted and otherwise inactive except in competition, Luke's influence on the industry has been undeniable. He wrote a column in a magazine and had a lot to say. Some people have a podcast, maybe two, but Luke had several. One series that I really liked was Bodybuilding & Bollocks with two professionals in Luke and Fouad Abiad. He had some great videos with Nick Trigili, made a great ronline report, and had a very active channel on Youtube, as well as other podcasts that he had either started and / or participated in. I always listen to podcasts, watch videos and / or read articles while I work. As clichéd as it may sound, I think I knew Luke from this content.
The really great champions are the ones who are down to earth, who really try to narrow the gap between celebrities and fans, and who are consistent. Luke Sandoe was real and he really cared. You can always distinguish real bodybuilders from fakes. There are people who are only temporarily in this branch and have more guests than anything else. Then there are people who really love the sport, who have been around for many years and who really eat, sleep and breathe. That doesn't mean that this great champion no longer had to offer, because there certainly were, but he was also a real bodybuilder. What's crazy is that I don't know because I know him directly, but I did know him through the media. I hate to sound redundant, but I really, really feel like he's a friend even though I've never met him or said two words to him. If that doesn't indicate what impact he had on this sport, I don't know what else he's doing.
As a result of what a great man he was, there was tremendous support from the fitness press and fans. A special fund was created by Luke's closest friends, with 100% going to his family for funeral and memorial expenses. This is another great way to illustrate how this closely related iron family comes together. Whether people donate a few dollars or more, everything adds up, everything makes a big difference. Even those who are unable to donate, simply repost on IG and share the fund's image on Facebook pages go a very long way.
Another great way to show love and support is with a special hashtag that everyone should use when posting photos, videos, and / or stories about Luke. This tag is #LukeTheLegend. I posted photos on all of my Instagram accounts, along with the hashtag and a simple #RIP. The content is spreading like wildfire on IG and will certainly do so on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Tiktok. The more love and respect spread, the better.
Unfortunately, some outlets have speculated about how Luke died. I'm not going to do this here, and I recommend Ron Harris, online editor-in-chief for muscle development, for giving the best reason. Ron said it best. This is not the time for it. He said that if you lose someone, nothing will change how he passed, nothing that he is gone. At the moment we should mourn for a great man, a great father and a great bodybuilder. I'm sure other outlets and / or youtubers will fight for videos, clickbait publishing, and fake news hoping to get hits, subscriptions, and google money, but so far there have been few cases. This is good news – this is very good news.
Whenever someone dies it's a tragedy, but 30 is so damn young. This thought is not my thought, it is shared by many of us in the industry, but when I think of Luke, I can't help thinking of Dallas. Two guys to look forward to, everything for them, one guy took 2nd place at Arnold, the other 3rd place. If you're in the top 3 in bodybuilding at The Arnold Classic, you're for size !! Not only did you make it, you are the elite of the elite.
In Luke, you had a man with a strong British accent who loved bodybuilding that was fun and entertaining to see and hear, and people around the world took him in. You referred to him. This is really special. Such a man will not be forgotten and his legacy will live on. He did so much, he wrote so much. This is really one of the many great advantages of social media – it's all there for us – and he lives on from it.
In conclusion, I would just like to mention that we live in very uncertain and difficult times. Millions of people around the world need to maintain social distance, stay at home and wear masks. It is not a life. Many, many people go crazy, others become very depressed, and fear is a monster we all deal with. It is important not to let things be bottled, to talk to people, and to try to move forward. I don't know what happened to Luke, but I'm sure he, like the rest of us, has endured this new version of life. If someone feels alone, consumed by negative thoughts and / or overwhelmed, please contact friends and family and look for some of the many excellent hotlines that have been set up due to these difficult times. You are NOT crazy, you might just need someone to talk to. Again, it's not so much about this article, but rather about life in general.
With this in mind, consider making a donation to the Luke Sandoe Memorial Fund, sharing the fund on social media, and trying to post at least one photo, video, and / or story with the #LukeTheLegend. It means a lot.
Thank you for reading my article here in Iron Magazine. If you have any feedback, I invite you to contribute to the comments, whether here or wherever you see this article.