Bodybuilding legend dead
"True legend" Phil Primmer with son, Shannan PrimmerFacebook

The world of bodybuilding in Australia is mourning the death of "true legend" Phil Primmer.

The 42-year-old Darwin man reportedly died after collapsing on Thursday in the gym he owned, according to friends on Facebook.

Phil and his wife Vania own Ultimate Gym and Fitness centre at Winnellie together, the Daily Mail reported.

A St John's Ambulance spokesman confirmed that Primmer was given CPR but had died by the time emergency services arrived.

His son, Shannan Primmer, paid tribute to his father on Facebook.

"To my love father Phil, you were the best dad a son could ask for," Shannan posted.

"Always did your best to provide anything your children needed or wanted you were the best man. I have ever met and will ever meet.

"My new life goal is to be just half the man you are, I love you so much."

Primmer's Facebook page was inundated with condolence messages including from people who never met him but were inspired by 'an Australian bodybuilding legend who will never be forgotten'.

Steve Harmon described him as a "true legend" while Nyla Peck described his affection for his family.

"In the bodybuilding world everybody knew your name, even outside the fitness world you shared your passion and drive with whomever you met, even if they didn't agree with you," he said.

Jude Smith described him as "a true and loved family man" with a "heart overflowing with love for those he loved".

"Your achievements and effect on people had earned you so much love and respect," wrote Jordan Hoyland.

"By far the lasting impression I have is you with your family… Your love for them is strong and fierce."

Primmer was raised in Darwin and owned the Ultimate Gym and Fitness centre at Winnellie with his wife Vania.

A message on the gym's Facebook page on Thursday 2 April said that it would be closed until Tuesday "due to unforeseen ­circumstances", Northern Territory News reported.

Primmer won the 2012 and 2013 National Amateur Body Building Association's Southern Hemisphere Championships in the men's class two division.

He also represented Australia at the 29th World Bodybuilding Championships in Ireland in 2012.

Colin Johnson – who had been friends with Primmer for 15 years – told the NT News that outside of the bodybuilding world, Primmer was a passionate, a devoted father and a man who "stood behind his beliefs and his mates".

Mr Primmer is survived by his wife and his two children, Shannan and Miami.

An autopsy will be carried out on Wednesday, according to NT News.