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Jack LaLanne dies at 96; he was energized by fitness

January 24, 2011 | 10:43 am


Jack LaLanne, the father of modern fitness, died Sunday at his Morro Bay home of respiratory failure due to pneumonia. He was 96.

A quick look back at a snippet of the fitness guru's black-and-white wisdom goes to show that at a time when "The Biggest Loser" would have been hard to imagine, LaLanne already had the magic recipe down: Exercise, eat right, and chill out.

LaLanne, married for 51 years to the delightfully named Elaine LaLanne, opened a health club in 1936 and in the 1950s launched a fitness show aimed at housewives.

He was also known for his famous feats of strength and endurance, which he started at age 40 to prove he wasn't "over the hill," says his full Los Angeles Times obituary.

Starting at 40 with the who-knew-it-was-modest feat of swimming the length of the Golden Gate Bridge underwater, he kept upping the stakes incrementally until, at age 70, he towed 70 boats with 70 people from the Queen's Way Bridge in Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary -- while handcuffed and shackled.

"Jack has left the world a happy, healthier, more fit place, and his legacy will live on forever," a blog post on the Jack LaLanne website read Monday. "Remember as Jack would say: 'Anything in Life is Possible, if YOU Make it Happen!'"


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-- Christie D'Zurilla