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Ulster body builder Jim Henderson dies in Malta hours after contest

By Christopher Woodhouse

Published 23/06/2015

Tributes: Jim Henderson
Tributes: Jim Henderson

A world-renowned body builder from Northern Ireland has died just hours after taking part in what he said would be his last competition.

Jim Henderson collapsed and died in his hotel on the Mediterranean island of Malta on Sunday evening, hours after finishing sixth in the World Body Building Championships.

The 54-year-old had previously said the 2015 World Championship would be his last competitive event as he wanted to spend more time with his two children, Nicole and James.

The Carrickfergus resident, who worked as a manager at the Bombardier aircraft plant in Belfast, took ill after having dinner with daughter, Nicole, on Father's Day.

A statement on behalf of the Henderson family, said: "It is with unparalleled sadness that we have learned of the passing of James, a loving husband and father.

"James passed away in Malta where he had been competing in the World Body Building Championships, representing Northern Ireland."

It added: "While we deal with this devastating news, we the Henderson family and wider family circle would respectfully request we are given the appropriate time and privacy to do so."

Bombardier sent its condolences to Mr Henderson's family in a statement to the Belfast Telegraph last night.

"We can confirm that Jim Henderson worked for Bombardier as a senior logistics agent in Supply Chain. We are shocked and saddened by Jim's sudden death and our thoughts are with his family," a spokesman said.

Mr Henderson had posted a picture on Facebook of himself beaming with his trophy from the World Championship on Saturday evening, writing: "Just finished world championships in Malta, 6th in the world!

"Thanks to everyone who supported me!"

He previously won the Masters Over-50 regional heat in the National Amateur Body Building Association competition, held in May this year.

Mr Henderson's wife Kathy was on a flight home to Belfast when he died and was making her way back to Malta yesterday with her cousin.

It is understood a post mortem examination will be carried out on his body in Malta before it can be released to his family.

Fellow figures from the world of amateur body building also paid tribute to Mr Henderson.

Dave Warner wrote on Facebook yesterday: "It's with great sadness (I) share the news that Jim Henderson passed away this weekend.

"Jim had just competed and placed 6th at the World Championships. The news comes as a great shock to everyone and my thoughts and sincerest condolences are with his family and friends at this sad time."

His sentiments were echoed by the National Association of Amateur Body Builders who shared Dave's post and wrote: "RIP Jim from the Nabba family. Our thoughts are with Jim's family."

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