“What a man, what a man, what a man…What a mighty good man…”—“Whatta Man,” by Salt-n-Pepa with En Vogue.
A while back, I penned an article about one of my early idols, Chris Dickerson, a Mr.Olympia. Becoming the first African-American, oldest, and openly-gay/SGL (same-gender-loving) Mr. Olympia, Chris truly was a trailblazer.
Unfortunately, in early March, the icon fell at home, fracturing his hip. While in the hospital, Chris experienced a major heart attack. As a result, the legendary bodybuilder was put in intensive care and placed on a ventilator.
Five-time Mr. Universe Bill Pearl, a close friend and training partner, has been providing updates on the medical condition of this groundbreaking competitor.
“Chris has been on a ventilator in the ICU at Holy Cross Hospital (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) since Friday (3/13/20). They have made several attempts to bring him off it, but his heart is not strong enough. They called this morning (3/19/20) and he is now in surgery to receive a pacemaker.
“Further information as of today (3/21/20) said they also inserted a cardiac catheter, which should come out later today.
“Hopefully, this will help his heart enough to get him breathing on his own. As of now, he is reported to be in stable condition.”
Sometime later, Pearl shared the following:
“Good news! We received a call this morning from Bill Neylon (Vice Chairman, National Physique Committee, South Florida). Thanks to all your prayers and positive thoughts, Chris Dickerson is awake, off the ventilator, and speaking. His doctors say there is no brain damage, and things look good for his recovery.
“As you all know, it will be a tremendous challenge, an uphill battle, but Chris is no stranger to challenges and hard work.
“I am sure he will be encouraged by the outpouring of love and concern that so many have expressed. Your continued thoughts and prayers will give him added strength. Thank you all for your great response.”
And then on April 2, Pearl reported:
“We had another call from Bill Neylon this afternoon. Chris has had a slight setback, an abdominal issue of some sort. He can’t talk on the phone at present and is resting. The hospital, beleaguered by Coronavirus cases, has asked that we let his friends and fans know that he cannot come to the phone, and all the calls are making things more difficult.
“We are very touched to know how many of you care enough to try to contact him, but now is just not the time. He will need lots of encouragement when he is in rehab and will be happy to know how many of you have reached out to him. But for now, consider how overworked the caregivers at the hospital are and hold off for a bit.”
Fortunately, Chris’s condition seems to be improving–albeit slowly. As I get additional news, I’ll keep you apprised.
On August 25, this acclaimed Mr. Olympia turns 81. Here’s a link to my initial article on this first Black and openly-gay/SGL Mr. Olympia: https://wyattevans.com/chris-dickerson-profile-in-fierce-courage/
Wyatt, thank you for this update on Chris’ condition. All of my best wishes for his speedy recovery.
Sure thing, Michael!
Chris is a dear friend! Is there an address to send a note or a card?