January 27, 2014
Weighing 135kg (297.6lb), Seccarecci’s height and thickly muscle-bound arms – huge even by the standards of his fellow competitors – brought him acclaim both on the bodybuilding circuit and in his native Italy. There he was the subject of an hour-long special on the music and entertainment channel MTV and appeared on Lo Show Dei Record, a prime-time programme dedicated to displays of extraordinary capabilities . It was on the set of the latter in 2010 that he received official confirmation as the heaviest competitor in the business, and his biceps were measured at 55 centimetres across, another record.
Seccarecci attributed his physique to a brutal exercise regime, six or seven separate meals a day, and a cocktail of dietary “supplements”. At the apex of his career he was much in demand as a personal trainer and gave frequent television interviews on the importance of nutrition. His relationship with the Hungarian-born former porn star Brigitta Bulgari also received extensive coverage in the Italian press, the couple proving unmistakable at fashionable nightclubs. Seccarecci, for his part, was happy with the effect that his appearance had on potential rivals for Brigitta’s attention: “No one dares to approach, because I’m there.”
As a star performer in an activity rife with substance abuse, however, it was perhaps inevitable that he would come under official scrutiny . In autumn 2011 Seccarecci was held on his return from a competition in Las Vegas and accused of trading in growth hormones and anabolic steroids.
After six days in a Milan prison cell he had gained several pounds through water retention and looked dangerously unwell. His prison doctor called the courthouse, saying that further detention put Seccarecci at risk of cardiac arrest, and the prosecutors agreed that he should return home, where his condition could be closely monitored. The case against him was subsequently dropped, and he remained seemingly unperturbed by his simultaneous brush with the law and with death. “My only crime is to be Daniel Seccarecci, the current best Italian representative of the sport,” he told reporters.
Daniele Seccarecci was born in Livorno, Tuscany, on February 17 1980. He began lifting weights at 16 in order to improve his judo technique, and within a year was competing at regional bodybuilding events. In 2000 he won first place at the Venice Beach Grand Prix, and for the next three years he dominated the junior category at national and world competitions. Graduating to IFBB pro level in 2006, he set his sights on the title of Mr Olympia, previously awarded to the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and his Italian Terminator co-star Franco Columbu. Despite Seccarecci’s remarkable physical dimensions, however, he never finished higher than fifth place in international pro contests, and so did not qualify.
Daniele Seccarecci was found dead at his house in Lama, a district of Toronto, having suffered a suspected heart attack. His last appearance at a bodybuilding contest had been at the IFBB Nordic Pro Championships less than a week earlier, where he came sixth.
Daniele Seccarecci, born February 17 1980, died September 4 2013