'People have tried to kill him before': Friends devastated after bodybuilder's murder

22 April 2018 - 11:55 By Katharine Child and Aron Hyman
Professional bodybuilder Tyrel Ekermans was stabbed in the neck on Friday night in Cape Town.
Professional bodybuilder Tyrel Ekermans was stabbed in the neck on Friday night in Cape Town.
Image: Facebook/Tyrel Ekermans

Family and friends are mourning the death of professional bodybuilder and bulldog breeder Tyrel Ekermans who was stabbed in the neck on Friday night.

Ekermans‚ 36‚ lived on the East Rand‚ but was in Cape Town on Friday night.

This was not the first attempt on his life‚ a close friend told TimesLIVE.

“People have tried to kill him before.”

Pictures on Instagram show he had been badly beaten up before and he claimed bouncers at a nightclub had sent him to hospital.

One source told TimesLIVE Ekermans was “involved in heavy stuff”.

The Boksburg father and husband owned a bodybuilding supplement company called TTT Nutrition.

On his last morning alive he wrote on Facebook that he was “waking up to the ocean”.

He was drinking at Camps Bay’s trendy Caprice Bar on Friday afternoon hours before he died. He left behind a toddler son and a wife.

Ekermans allegedly worked with Brian Wainstein‚ an international steroid dealer who was shot in his bed in his Cape Town home in an apparent hit last August.

Ekermans’ sister‚ Bianca Lee Juchau‚ posted on Facebook that she knew the real Tyrel even though “everyone thought he was a gangster”.

“I know everyone thought he was a gangster‚ but we knew the real Zoogy [sic].”

She also wrote: “My best friend was taken away from me today‚ my zollie‚ my brother‚ my crazy Mexican! This isn’t how it was meant to end my boy‚ we still had so much to do‚ so many memories to make‚ there’s so many unanswered questions!

One of his closest friends‚ Mark Stent‚ was devastated.

He wrote on Facebook: “I have no words... I can't believe I will never get to laugh with you again... You were the single best and most loyal person I have ever met‚ I remember times of you saving me from myself at ungodly hours‚ you were never anything short of the perfect friend‚ no matter how busy you had time for me... Above all you were the best father on earth...”

The muscular man recently had a picture of his toddler son tattooed on his heavily inked back. He came fourth in Mr Universe in 2014.

#RIP my friend 😭 @tyrel.jade.ekermans 💔

Posted by Yuvthi Raghubir on Saturday, 21 April 2018

Bodybuilders‚ who he judged in competitions‚ paid tribute to him on Saturday.

“It was with great sadness when the Elite team heard that Tyrel Jade Ekermans who was a judge at our Elite Athlete Extravaganza 2018 show and also a long time friend‚ passed away." 

His friend Craig Mcivar paid tribute to him. “Tyrel was a good guy .. spoke straight from his heart. He leaves a huge gap in the industry. As short as he was he had the heart of a lion.”

RIP Tyrel Jade Ekermans .. You will be missed ....😭 but never forgotten . Legend 😎

Posted by Craig Mcvicar on Saturday, 21 April 2018

Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said: “Circumstances surrounding a stabbing incident at Arum Road‚ Bloubergrandt‚ Table View‚ on Saturday morning at about 1am where a 36-year-old man was fatally injured are under investigation. A murder case was registered for investigation. No arrest as yet has been made.”