Johnny Perry was found dead in the bedroom of his Zebulon home by his live-in girlfriend on Thursday morning. An autopsy will be performed.
Police say foul play isn't suspected. Autopsy results conducted by the county's medical examiner were not yet ready to offer a preliminary cause of death.
A former pro wrestler who went by the name "Steel," Perry has competed in the World's Strongest Man competition for the last few years. He was to leave this weekend to compete in next week's Sweden Grand Prix.
He had most recently competed at the 2002 World's Strongest Man Competition in Malaysia in August, reaching the finals and finishing fourth. Hehad been the runner-up in the American Championship in July.
At the world event, Perry had measured at 6-5 and 390 pounds, with a 42-inch waist to go along with 25-inch biceps.
Perry was regarded as one of the nicest strongmen on thecircuit, despite his intimidating appearance, which was bolsteredby tattoos and piercings.