"I tell people I can't afford to die; it will wreck my image." ~ Jack Lalanne
Jack Lalanne, 96, passed away last night. My condolences go out to Jack's wife of 51 years, Elaine, and his three children, Dan, Jon, and Yvonne, and his employees, especially Claire who forwarded my emails to Jack and helped me to get an autographed picture of Jack a couple of months ago. The world has lost a great inspirational leader.
In late October, I sent Jack an e-mail asking him to join my Angels in the outfield program. I thanked him for being one of the greatest inspirational people in my life and asked if it would be okay to meet him and shake hands.
Due to restrictions in his contract, Jack was not able to join the outfield. He did offer an autographed picture with some kind words of inspiration. His employee, Claire, followed up to make sure I received my package from Jack. I was given permission to write about Jack in an earlier blog message (see post from 11/5/10).
I promised Jack that I would follow in his footsteps, inspiring others to lead a healthier lifestyle. Jack lost his father to a heart attack when he was a teenager. The family herded sheep. Jack was a sugar addict during his teenage years. At the age of 15, Jack's mother introduced him to a nutritionist, Paul C. Bragg. Paul promised Jack that he could become “born again” if he gave up sugar-laden foods. Jack prayed for the willpower to give up sugar.
At the age of 21, Jack converted the family's garage into his first fitness center. He visited the local high school in search of the scrawniest kids and the most overweight kids, offering them free fitness memberships.
I never got the opportunity to meet Jack in person and thank him for being my personal hero and inspiring me to live a healthy lifestyle. In honor of his life well-lived, I am assigning Angel #96 to Jack Lalanne. I will spend the rest of my life fulfilling my promise to Jack to follow in his footsteps. May he rest in peace. He will be missed by many.