Fitness Guru Jack LaLanne Dies at 96

By Michael Preston
|  Monday, Jan 24, 2011  |  Updated 7:28 AM CDT
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Jack LaLanne flexing it up at his 95th birthday party at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

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Fitness guru Jack LaLanne, a television staple from the 1950s to 1970s known for promoting exercising and healthy lifestyle choices and who is considered to be the father of physical fitness movement, died from complications of pneumonia on January 23, reported Bloomberg. He was 96.

LaLanne, a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, turned to weights at a young age, pioneering their use in workouts and opening a forerunner of the modern fitness center - a gym with a juice bar and health food store - in Oakland, Calif., in 1936.

His eponymous TV show first aired in 1951 in San Francisco before going national in 1959. Frequently joined by his sidekick German Shepherd, Happy, LaLanne would progress through a variety of workout routines, typically using common household items like broomsticks and chairs in his quest to get Americans to be more active.

His agent, Rick Hersh, said that LaLanne remained active and continued to eat a healthy diet until his death.

In a written statement, his wife of 51 years praised her husband.

"I have not only lost my husband and a great American icon, but the best friend and most loving partner anyone could ever hope for," she wrote.

In addition to his wife, LaLanne is survived by two sons, Dan and Jon, and a daughter, Yvonne.

 

 

Selected Reading: New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Bloomberg

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