WILTON MANORS—On Monday morning, January 28, the residents of the Wilton Tower on Northeast 20th Street witnessed the arrival of emergency vehicles, police cruisers, a Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) Crime Scene van, and eventually the county Medical Examiner’s truck, each of which had responded to reports of the tragic death of a popular local bodybuilder, fitness trainer, and one-time Colt model, Christian Bouthillette, who lived at the high rise with his partner, Frank Angiulli.
Although the official ruling from the county Medical Examiner’s office upon the manner of Bouthillette’s death—including a toxicology report—could take up to two weeks to be released, official sources close to the case who declined to be identified told the Agenda that the 52 year old Montreal-native was discovered “unattended” in his bath tub.
The management of the luxury apartment building—which is located behind Dairy Queen and Tropics restaurant, near the south end of Wilton Drive—expressed sadness for Bouthillette’s death, and Community Manager Heather Sparks posted a note of condolence and sympathy near the building’s elevators, explaining the cause of his passing as a massive heart attack.
The source close to the case told the Agenda that Bouthillette’s exact cause of death won’t be known until the toxicology is completed, but that source referred to an online report that Bouthillette had been arrested last weekend in Miami-Dade County for cocaine-related offenses. The same source also stated that a note had been found on the scene by investigators.
Bouthillette, whom neighbors say was warm and friendly, was an award-winning bodybuilder, a nationally-recognized trainer, and a popular Colt model whose images are available online.
He welcomed visitors to his fitness Website (bodyimagefitness.us) with a friendly open manner that his friends say was second nature to him. “Hi. My name is Christian,” he wrote on the site.
Bouthillette, a Montreal native, graduated from high school in 1977. According to his self-written Web bio, “I started bodybuilding at the age of 21 in Spain. I studied science of education in Montreal, and was a track and field athlete. After being diagnosed with periostitis (the inflammation of the periosteum, a layer of connecting tissues that surround the bone) my tibia was affected and I could no longer jump or run. So I turned to bodybuilding to keep fit and healthy.”
After winning numerous bodybuilding competitions—including the 1995 Canada Cup, 1st Place in mixed pairs, the 1998 National Physique Committee (NPC) New York Grand Prix 1st Place in super heavy weight, and the 2004 NPC East Coast, 1st Place in super heavy weight—Bouthillette “started [his] dream job” in 1998 as a personal trainer.
Ken Hunt, the owner of New York City-based Steel Gym, knew Bouthillette for more than 10 years, and had employed him in both New York and Miami. “Christian was a very dear friend of mine,” he told the Agenda. “He was a sweet person whose biggest muscle was his heart.”
Hunt told the Agenda that plans were being made to hold a memorial event in Bouthillette’s memory.
He says he had spoken with Bouthillette’s partner, and been told that his friend had died from a massive heart attack.
Hunt described Bouthillette as a “friendly” and “serious” person, who was sometimes “guarded” around others, especially those who only saw him at face value.
“I remember being at Fort Lauderdale Beach with him last year,” Hunt recalled. “He was very friendly, but I remember him saying that it was funny how most people only saw him as this big muscular guy, how they felt they ‘knew’ him from his fame as a Colt model. But that wasn’t the deeper part of Christian. It’s really a terrible loss.”
While officials wait the official ruling from the medical examiner, his loved ones try to make sense of their loss, and take comfort from the memories they retain of their friend. On his training Website, Bouthillette himself wrote that he gained tremendous satisfaction from “Helping people get what they want and reach their goals like I did; using the experience and knowledge I’ve acquired during my career in bodybuilding.”