Jack LaLanne, an icon of the modern physical fitness movement, died Sunday at age 96 at his home in California.
The cause of death was respiratory failure resulting from pneumonia, The New York Times reported in an obituary.
LaLanne, a San Francisco native, first became famous for The Jack LaLanne Show, which debuted in 1951 and continued into the mid-1980s. He counseled Americans on working out and nutrition before the subjects were commonplace.
“Long before Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda and the Atkins diet, Mr. LaLanne was a national celebrity, preaching regular exercise and proper diet,” according to the Times. “Expanding on his television popularity, he opened dozens of fitness studios under his name, later licensing them 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 invited women to join his health clubs and told the elderly and the disabled that they could exercise despite their limitations.”
His more memorable feats including swimming from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf at age 60 while handcuffed, shackled and pulling a 1,000-pound boat. At age 70, he towed 70 boats carrying 70 people through Long Beach Harbor while handcuffed and shackled once again.
LaLanne is survived by his wife, Elaine, two sons, and a daughter.