THE LATE Lawrence “The Beast” Marshall will be remembered as a legendary national bodybuilder and the “trainer of trainers”.
The former TT athlete passed away on Saturday night. He was 58. A close family member debunked rumours that Marshall died because of covid19. Relatives are still awaiting the autopsy report.
“I cannot confirm if he died from covid19 at this time because they are still assessing the situation," said his brother Lindsay Marshall. "The death certificate said he had some comorbidities, in terms of his health.
“That would have contributed a lot to him passing away. He would have known that his kidney was failing.”
Born in 1963, Marshall was the second bodybuilder from TT to turn professional. He was one of the prominent names in the sport in the 1990s and early 2000s. Victory after victory at local shows qualified him for Central American and Caribbean (CAC) meets where he represented this country with distinction.
He also competed at the prestigious international Olympia, where he impressively placed 15th. Marshall remained active on the local circuit nurturing the next generation and keeping the sport alive.
Marshall was also an International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness professional trainer. He plied his trade at the “The Bar by the Beast” at Grand Bazaar, Valsayn and D’Dial Fitness Club, which has two locations - Long Circular Mall, St James and Arima.
Zelus Williams, a former student and training partner of “The Beast”, said that Marshall’s contribution to the local and regional bodybuilding fraternity must be recognised.
Marshall was instrumental in wooing Williams to join bodybuilding back in 2006. This move saw the latter go on to dominate the local circuit in the middleweight category.
“I don’t have a dad in Trinidad but he (Marshall) treated me like a father. He always supported and helped me.
“He took me to shows and competitions in Barbados and Antigua. I was the basement champion because he took me from nothing and I went on to win the TT middleweight class for a couple years,” said Williams.
After the birth of his son five years ago, Williams stopped competing. However, he recently reached out to Marshall to help him return to the competitive stage. Marshall welcomed Williams’ return to the circuit but since their conversation, he never did make the time to reconnect with his mentor.
“Up to Monday (May 3), after the gyms were closed (owing to tightened covid19 restrictions), I called him (Marshall) to find out if we could have done a little backyard thing.
“I kept making excuses and now this came and happened. I spoke to him on Wednesday and he was sounding really good.
“He was an icon; a trainer of trainers. He trained a lot of the top bodybuilders in Trinidad, I being one of them. A lot of the gym instructors from central and west Trinidad all passed through his hands. His death has hit home,” Williams added.
Meanwhile, veteran national bodybuilder Emile Burkett also acknowledged Marshall’s commitment to his craft. According to Burkett, after turning pro in the early 90s, Marshall worked at a gym in West Mall before he moved on to D’Dial.
Burkett, however, was a seasoned national bodybuilder in the 80s. Although he never really trained or worked with Marshall, Burkett said Marshall used his annual bodybuilding show – Sportworld Classic – as a platform to help local and regional athletes showcase their skills.
“There is only one ‘beast’. He would train men and women. His shows provided a launch pad for many young bodybuilders to familiarise themselves with competition.
“He was more of a promoter in the last couple years. Waking up (on Sunday) to that news (of his passing) was a shock,” said Burkett.
Susan Hadad, who trained at one of Marshall’s gyms, shared similar sentiments on the passing of one of TT’s “giants”.
“He was a trainer of a lot national athletes. Also Mr and Mrs Trinidad and Ms Junior and Mr Senior TT. He helped a lot of them for regional and international competition.
“His loss is a big blow to the bodybuilding fraternity. He will be missed by many persons. His Sportworld Classic also served as the starting point for many other competitions in the other Caribbean islands. He was a trendsetter.”
His death left local bodybuilder Robert Jacob, 44, in shock on Sunday. Jacob paid tribute to the local legend who he described as “the great Lawrence Marshall”.
Jacob said, “To me, he was motivation. This is where you want to reach.”
He said Marshall was always willing to give advice.
“He was a good friend. You had any issue with training to work out any issues you may be having – he's very good . Good person to discuss ideas to get the body to respond to training. A very cool and accommodating guy.
“It’s a great loss. One of those corner stones of bodybuilding in Trinidad.”
Jacob said Marshall always made sure to pave the way for young people to succeed.
“He kept things going pre-covid, so young bodybuilders like myself could attain his level. He was always trying to promote bodybuilding. He lived bodybuilding.
“What he went through, he tried to ensure people under him didn't have to go through those hardships. So when you only had junior and senior tournament, he would host other tournaments. So if you missed the grade by a point or so, you had another shot for national selection. He ensured the cycle of bodybuilding continues.”
D’Dial Fitness Club expressed condolences on his passing via Facebook.
“The D’Dial Fitness Club mourns the death of our dearest friend, our brother Lawrence 'The Beast' Marshall. He was the main force behind the scenes of making this club a reality. His contributions that were made in the fitness industry are indeed immeasurable.
“He was a leader and mentor to many, his wisdom transcends beyond words. Words cannot express the void that is left in our hearts because of his passing. Lauree, you will forever be engraved in our hearts. Rest in eternal peace our brother.”