Phagwara (Punjab): 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, who succumbed to brain hemorrhage last night, was cremated this evening.

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

His trainer Ranjit Pabla, 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 Pabla.

"I had got designed special light-weight dumbbells of 1.5 kg for Romeo's practice," he added.

Pabla disclosed that Aditya'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.

Calling him one of the strongest dwarfs in the world, Pabla said, "Romeo was a very good student. He grasped every step of exercise quickly. He trained more or less the same way as anyone else and was much more determined.

"I started with a month-long basic exercises like aerobics, push-ups and basic gymnastics to prepare his biceps and triceps when he came to the gymnasium five years ago.

"Romeo was also a great entertainer. He had captivating dancing skills. He danced in cultural troupes in marriages and public shows. He also appeared on tv shows," he said.

After a clot was detected in his brain sometime back during a check-up in USA, Aditya had stopped exercising.

He suffered from brain hemorrhage last night and went into coma. He breathed his last at his Green Park residence on Thursday morning.

(Agencies)

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