Tonya Knight, a well-known bodybuilder, died on February 7, at the age of 56. She battled cancer for a long time, eventually succumbing to it.

Sharon Bruneau, the former co-host of America’s Next Great Trainer, paid tribute to Knight on Facebook, writing that the bodybuilding world had lost a gem.

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Who was Tonya Knight?

Tonya Knight, who was born on March 24, 1966, became interested in volleyball during her time in high school and college. She also played on her school’s volleyball team. She was motivated to pursue a career in the fitness industry after seeing a magazine cover with Rachel McLish on it.

She joined a gym and started working out with her brother. When she took the stage for the first time in 1983, she quickly seized the top spot. Later, she relocated to Venice, Italy, and began competing in various bodybuilding competitions.

Throughout her career, she took part in a number of contests and went up against well-known bodybuilders like Cory Everson, the six-time Ms. Olympia winner, and Anja Schreiner.

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Knight ranked 4th in the 1988 Ms. Olympia, but after the IFBB produced convincing proof, she later acknowledged sending a substitute to submit to the event’s pre-event drug test. She was compelled to return her $12,000 in prize money from the 1989 Ms. International and the 1988 Ms. Olympia after being found in contempt of court in a November 1989 decision. The 1989 Ms. International title was given to the runner-up, Jackie Paisley. She returned to the stage in 1991 after the scandal, winning the Ms. International crown without incident. Only two more professional competitions, the latest of which was in 1993, saw her compete.

She competed in several competitions throughout her career, alongside other famous bodybuilders such as Anja Schrenier and Cory Everson, who won Ms. Olympia six times.

Tonya Knight was crowned Ms. International in 1991, and despite competing in the same competition again in 1992, she finished sixth. In 1993, she finished third in the Jan Tana Classic.

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She won several other competitions, including the IFBB Grand Prix in Italy, before retiring in 1993. She appeared on American Gladiators, which made her a well-known television personality. She left the show in the third season due to a knee injury.