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Fitness Icon Jack LaLanne Dead at 96

Jack LaLanne at age 71
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Considered to be the pioneer of the modern fitness movement, Jack LaLanne died this afternoon of respiratory failure caused by pneumonia at his Morro Bay home, reports the New York Times. He was 96. A native Californian, LaLanne grew up in the San Francisco area. He turned to fitness and healthy eating as a teen. After earning a Doctor of Chiropractic degree, LaLanne opened a gym in Oakland, which was considered a prototype of the fitness spas of the coming years, with a juice bar, health foods, and weight training for men and women.

LaLanne drew national fame on television in the late 1950s, and his show remained on the air until the mid-eighties. Over the years he expanded his fitness studios, ultimately licensing many to Bally. "He invented the forerunners of modern exercise machines like leg-extension and pulley devices. He marketed a Power Juicer to blend raw vegetables and fruits and a Glamour Stretcher cord, and he sold exercise videos and fitness books."

He remained active and in the public eye in his final years, and still lifted weights. He is survived by his wife, Elaine, and their son Jon and daughter Yvonne.

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