Bodybuilder & Social Media Star Known as ‘Brazilian Hulk’ Dies At 55

Lead Photo: bodybuilder preparing a barbell on a power rack in gym, cologne, germany
bodybuilder preparing a barbell on a power rack in gym, cologne, germany
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Valdir Segato, a bodybuilder and social media star known as the “Brazilian Hulk,” died Tuesday (August 2) — on his 55th birthday. 

Segato, who had gained a following on TikTok of 1.7 million people, expanded his biceps to measure 23 inches after spending years injecting himself with Synthol oil to yield bigger muscles. However, the cause of death has not yet been revealed. Years ago, doctors warned him that if he continued to use the enhancement oil, it could put him at risk for strokes, nerve damage, and infections.

“They call me Hulk, Schwarzenegger, and He-Man all the time, and I like that,” Segato said in 2016. “I’ve doubled my biceps, but I still want to be bigger.”

Synthol oil is a substance bodybuilders use to temporarily “pump up” their muscles. It was invented in the mid-1990s by German bodybuilder Chris Clark. According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM), Synthol consists of oil, benzyl alcohol, and the painkiller known as lidocaine.

“The enlargement effects are immediate,” an article from the NLM reads. “Some serious drawbacks can be visible while using Synthol. The muscles deform and become unnaturally shaped. The side effects of Synthol… can also damage nerves… occlusion of the pulmonary artery, myocardial infarction, cerebral stroke, and infectious complications.”

In 2007, Dr. Bruce Nadler, a personal trainer and a judge for bodybuilding competitions, described the practice, which is also known as “fluffing,” like this: “There are some instances of absolutely freakish appearance because of [Synthol],” he said. “The fact that a lot of individuals have this bizarre appearance shows that there is an attraction there, even if it is the same type of attraction you’d see at a bad car wreck.”