Jack LaLanne, the fitness guru who inspired television viewers to trim down, eat well and pump iron for decades before diet and exercise became a national obsession, died Sunday. He was 96.
LaLanne died of respiratory failure due to pneumonia Sunday afternoon at his home in Morro Bay on California’s central coast, his longtime agent Rick Hersh said.
LaLanne ate healthy and exercised every day of his life up until the end, Hersh said.
“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,” Elaine LaLanne, LaLanne’s wife of 51 years and a frequent partner in his television appearances, said in a written statement.
He maintained a youthful physique and joked in 2006 that “I can’t afford to die. It would wreck my image.”
Former “Price is Right” host Bob Barker credited LaLanne’s encouragement with helping him to start exercising often.
“He never lost enthusiasm for life and physical fitness,” the 87-year-old Barker told The Associated Press on Sunday. “I saw him in about 2007 and he still looked remarkably good. He still looked like the same enthusiastic guy that he always was.”
Jack LaLanne is what it’s all about for me. He didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk. He led by example and with integrity. I can’t think of anyone else who deserved more to live 96 years. When it came to his body and health, he got out of it, exacly, what he put into it. Most importantly he had a simple common sense approach to health and fitness. Let us use his passing as motivation.
“The only way you can hurt the body is not use it,” LaLanne said. “Inactivity is the killer and, remember, it’s never too late.”