A Brazilian bodybuilder and TikTok star who gained 1.6 million followers by injecting himself with life-threatening oil to create 23-inch biceps has died on his 55th birthday in Ribeirao Preto.
Valdir Segato had been using synthol injections for years despite risking strokes and infections to produce hulking biceps, pectorals and back muscles.
Segato, originally from Sao Paulo, previously said he was inspired by the physiques of Arnold Schwarzenegger and fictional characters like The Hulk, and spoke of how he was proud to be known locally as ‘the monster’ in the street.
Six years ago he was warned he faced amputation, or at the very least nerve damage and muscle disfigurement if he continued to use the injections.
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Valdir Segato (pictured) had been using synthol injections for years despite risking strokes and infections to produce hulking biceps, pectorals and back muscles
Segato, originally from Sao Paulo, previously said he was inspired by the physiques of Arnold Schwarzenegger and fictional characters like The Hulk, and spoke of how he was proud to be known locally as ‘the monster’ in the street
As a youth Segato (pictured left) was an emaciated skinny drug addict and lost so much weight he was known as ‘Skinny Dog’
But Segato, previously a construction worker, said in 2016: ‘They call me Hulk, Schwarzenegger and He-Man all the time and I like that. I’ve doubled my biceps but I still want to be bigger.’
He proudly posted images and videos to social media, calling himself ‘Valdir Synthol’ on Instagram. But according to local media, by the time of his death he had few friends of visitors – and lived an isolated life – despite his huge following.
One man named Moisés da Conceição da Silva said the bodybuilder had rented a property built to the rear of his family’s house in Ribeirao Preto, in southeast Brazil, for more than 15 years.
Moisés said on the day Segato died, he had asked Moisés’ mother for help – complaining about a shortness of breath.
‘It was around 6 am, more or less. He came crawling through the back house and came to the front. Then he knocked on my mother’s window, knocked, knocked, then she woke up and he said ‘help me, help me because I’m dying,” Moisés said, according to Brazil’s Globo news publication.
He was taken to the North Emergency Care Unit (UPA) – a medical facility in the city – but could not be saved.
‘They put him in the car and then the neighbour went to the UPA. He arrived at the UPA, he fell at the reception, having a heart attack. I think he had a heart attack’, Moisés told the news website.
Moisés’ brother, Jadson da Conceição, told Globo that this was not the first time Segato had to be rushed to hospital, and had previously complained of shortness of breath.
The first time, he said, they were able to get him to the hospital on time. This time, he said, there was no saving him.
The construction worker who called himself Valdir Synthol on social media, after the oil which he injects, said he used to be a drug addict before becoming addicted to bodybuilding
Segato was known as ‘Skinny Dog’ in his youth (left) but today people compare him to the Hulk and Arnold Schwarzenegger (right)
As a youth he was an emaciated skinny drug addict and lost so much weight he was known as ‘Skinny Dog’.
He previously stated: ‘I got involved with drugs and I started losing weight because you don’t eat, you lead a wrong life.’
Segato quit drugs and joined a gym but he wanted more extreme effects than he could achieve from exercise alone.
He was offered synthol by someone in the gym and, having an addictive personality, soon became hooked on the muscle-enhancing substance.
Many bodybuilders swerve the lengthy list of side effects posed by anabolic steroids by opting for synthol, but the oil also poses huge risks.
According to Europe PubMed Central: ‘The side effects of synthol are manifold and they can also cause a damage of nerves, oil embolic of the pulmonary, occlusion of the pulmonary artery, myocardial infarction, cerebral stroke and infectious complications.’
The injections are comprised of 85 percent oil – often sesame oil – 7.5 percent lidocain, a painkiller, and 7.5 percent alcohol, used to sterilise the concoction.
In addition the results are purely cosmetic and did not make Segato any stronger.
Despite being warned that continued use of the oil could result in amputation, he carried on with the dangerous practice.
Synthol is comprised of 85 percent oil – often sesame oil is used – 7.5 percent lidocain, a painkiller, and 7.5 percent alcohol, used to sterilise the concoction
His rippling back muscles around his neck – the injections can cause nerve and muscle damage and he had refused to heed warnings of amputation
Throwback: He previously stated: ‘I got involved with drugs and I started losing weight because you don’t eat, you lead a wrong life’
His friend Fernando Carvalho da Silva, previous said: ‘The oil thing is stupidity. He thinks it’s good and I’m a friend so I stay quiet, but deep down I want to tell him to stop but he doesn’t want to. He’s happy like that.
‘It’s the risk he takes – he wants to look good and wants to be famous.’
Segato said at the time: ‘The doctors tell me to stop it, the advice they give me is to stop using. But it’s my decision to use it because I want to, because I like to.’