Jack LaLanne was an original–pop fitness enthusiast, nutritionist, and advocate of healthier living. He’l be remembereed as one of the most important influences on Americans’ thinking about exercise, health, and nutrition during the 20th century.
Sadly, LaLanne died of respiratory failure and pneumonia on January 23, 2011 at his home in Morro Bay, California, at the age of 96.
Growing up in California, LaLanne took an interest in fitness after a childhood upbringing that was not entirely healthy. He would open one of this country’s first fitness centers in Oakland, California, in 1936. There would eventually be many such fitness centers that bore his name.
LaLanne was a staunch advocate of exercise and proper nutrition as means to better health. He wrote several books, developed a variety of exercise machines, and hosted a television program for more than 30 years. In the process, he reached an audience of millions of Americans, coaxing them off the couch. He did a lot of good.
Interestingly, LaLanne underwent heart valve surgery at the age on 95. Details of that operation haven’t been widely reported, but I understand that he had aortic valve replacement–probably for aortic stenosis. It’s an operation that we perform for patients of almost any age with severe narrowing of the heart valve. Like most patients, he made a good recovery from that operation in spite of his advanced age.
Jack LaLanne was one-of-a-kind. We’ll miss him.