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World's Smallest Bodybuilder Dies at Age 23

Geoff Caddick/PA Wire/AP PhotoThe world's tiniest bodybuilder, Aditya 'Romeo' Dev, died today at age 23.

Early this morning, Dev was rushed to Satyam Hospital in Punjab, India, where doctors were unable to revive him.

"He was brought to the hospital in an unconscious state," Dr. Nerraj Chandanone at Satyam Hospital told The Daily Mail. "It was due to massive bleeding which had caused brain damage or aneurism bleeding. There were very rare chances of him surviving."

In 2008, Dev had been diagnosed with two brain aneurisms, a common symptom of being a dwarf. Doctors had warned Dev that at any time, without warning, his aneurism could burst and lead to a fatal stroke.

Dev's father, Anil Dev Sharma, 53, and mother, Rakesh Bala, 49, are devastated at the news of their son's death.

"He was absolutely fine until last night when he suddenly fell unconscious. We rushed him to the hospital and he fell into a coma, he was unconscious all night. Doctors said the nerve supplying blood to his brain had ruptured, causing his death," Sharma told local reporters. "It's a huge loss for our family, we will be grieving his death for the rest of our life. We were told by doctors many years ago that he may die at an early age. All these years we prayed for his long life."

Standing at only 2 feet, 9 inches and a mere 19 pounds, Dev told " Good Morning America" in 2009 the most he ever lifted was 10 pounds - about half his weight.

"From the very beginning I liked lifting the dumbbells and lifting weights," he said through a translator. "I used to watch wrestling when I was a small kid and that's how I got inspired."

His hard work paid off. The Guinness Book of World Records dubbed him the world's smallest body builder in 2006.

In 2009, Dev told "GMA" he considered himself to be the strongest dwarf in the world. He used a regimen that included 3.3-pound custom-designed dumbbells from his trainer and was able to bulk up to the size of an average 2-year-old.

His chest measurement was 20 inches and his exercise routine included aerobics and dance. Dev said he never let his size stop him from doing anything, even though his height was only about as tall as a baseball bat.

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