Hospital officials in Cholakov’s hometown of Smolyan, southern Bulgaria, said that the cause of his death on Sunday has yet to be confirmed. Local media reports said Cholakov, who won gold at the European championships in 2004, had been suffering from heart problems.
Cholakov also won bronze in the over 105 kg-category at the Athens 2004 Olympics and silver at the world championships in 2003.
The Bulgarian team was withdrawn from the Beijing Olympics after Cholakov and 10 other team members tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid. Cholakov has recently been training young weightlifters in his hometown.