‘Romeo’, world’s shortest bodybuilder, dies at 23

The world's shortest bodybuilder, Aditya 'Romeo' Dev from Punjab, whose name was enlisted in the Limca Book of Records in 2007, passed away here at the age of 23. Aditya succumbed to brain haemorrhage last night and was cremated this evening.

"Romeo was unwell for the past one year and on Wednesday night his condition deteriorated," said a family member.

Standing at just 2 feet, 9 inches and weighing 10 kgs, Aditya gained national and international recognition by lifting 3 kg dumbbells and performing 6 kg benchpress.

His trainer Ranjit Pal, himself registered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest rope skipper in the world, termed Aditya's demise as an irreparable loss to not only Phagwara and Punjab but also to the country.

"Romeo became the cynosure of all eyes and won accolades wherever he went for his performance," claimed Pal.

Incidentally, Romeo, due to his short height had refused to leave his house till he was 17 years old. It changed when Romeo met Pal, who encouraged him to get into body building. "I saw him in 2006 and started training him. I had got designed special light-weight dumbbells of 1.5 kg for his practice," Pal said.

Romeo's name was also nominated for the Guinness Book of World Records as the smallest bodybuilder of the world in 2006, but the title was won by a dwarf from Nepal. Aditya was blessed with a well-proportioned body with head circumference of 15 inches and chest measurement of 20 inches, Pal said.

"During training, Romeo gained nearly 2 kgs over his earlier weight of 7.5 kg," Pal said, adding that Romeo was so small that he (Pal) used to carry him in a bag.

Calling him one of the strongest dwarves in the world, Pal said, "He trained more or less the same way as anyone else and was much more determined."

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