Few bodybuilders have had the unique career carved out by Aziz Shavershian, otherwise known as Zyzz, his online handle that was based on the myth of Narcissus.
But Zyzz was more than just a bodybuilder. He modeled his career on that of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and his aesthetic approach to bodybuilding led to a cult-like following that led many to see him as the next big thing in bodybuilding before his tragic death in 2011.
Aziz Shavershian certainly came from an exotic international background. Born in 1989 in Moscow, he was raised in New South Wales and was the highest-ranking student in his school there.
But Shaversian wasn’t exactly happy with his academic achievements. He described himself in high school as an “extreme ectomorph” who couldn’t get girls, so he decided to change his thin build to become more popular with the opposite sex.
His foray into bodybuilding quickly became an obsession, and Zyzz became the leader of an Australian bodybuilding movement called Aesthetics. His calling card was popularizing a term called “You mirin,” which was a catch phrase of sorts for having women admire his physique as well as a way to encourage his many followers to pursue the same goal.
But his dedication to buff-ness eventually took a dark turn when accusations about his alleged steroid use became rampant. In 2011 his brother Said was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to charges of possessing anabolic steroids, but Zyzz insisted his physique was a byproduct of hard work and pristine nutrition.
Capitalizing on his newfound fame as a bodybuilder, he published Zyzz’s Bodybuilding Bible and was able to successfully market a number of bodybuilding supplements. He also started filming “National Road Trip,” an Australian travel show in which various national celebrities would journey around the country and stop off at various famous landmarks.
The show, the book and the products gave him a new level of visibility, and Zyzz was a staple of bodybuilding news sites from around the world. He did interviews, built his following and grew his brand, seemingly paving the way for him to become the 21st-century version of Schwarzenegger.
Cause of Death?
But it simply wasn’t meant to be. In August of 2011, Zyzz was found dead in a sauna during a month-long trip to Thailand, and ironically the circumstances behind his death helped extend his legacy.
The cause of death was listed as cardiac arrest due to a congenital heart defect, but given the easy availability of performance-enhancing drugs and hormones in Thailand and the earlier accusations of steroid use, there was considerable media and fan speculation about the “real” cause of his death, especially when no toxicology report was released.
In a strange way, though, Zyzz lives on. Ten years after his tragic passing, his adoring fans continue to post tribute videos, and his bodybuilding methods are still discussed to this day, primarily via his subreddit account. He was believed to be worth approximately $17 million when he died, but to his fans Zyzz’s real worth was his passionate devotion and dedication to his bodybuilding craft.