H-MORRO BAY

Jan 24, 2011 2:49 AM by Ariel Wesler

Fitness Legend Jack LaLanne dies at 96

The fitness guru and nutritional expert who called the Central Coast home has died. Jack LaLanne passed away this afternoon at his home in Morro Bay. His agent says he died of respiratory failure due to pneumonia.

LaLanne worked to encourage people across the nation to follow a healthy lifestyle decades before exercise became a national obsession, all while working his way into the hearts and homes of Central Coast residents.

Jack LaLanne reportedly ate and exercised every day of his life up until the end.

"The exercise is king. Nutrition's queen. Put them together? You got a kingdom, LaLanne said during a 2009 interview with KSBY.

It's a kingdom LaLanne started building decades ago. He also gained recognition for his success as a bodybuilder. He celebrated his 60th birthday by swimming from Alcatraz to San Francisco, handcuffed and towing a 1000 pound boat. He has since become known as the "Godfather of fitness."

In the 90s, LaLanne launched his line of power juicers, still being sold today. He also used to speak to viewers regularly on ksby in a segment called living longer.

"The only way you can hurt the body is don't use it. That's the only abuse," LaLanne said.

In 2008, he was inducted into the California Hall of Fame. Last year, the power couple was presented the 2010 Wellness Life award at the Senior Health Expo in San Luis Obispo. The Morro Bay resident and his wife Elaine, have spent a lifetime practicing and preaching the importance of eating healthy and working out.

"Forget about the good old days. The good old days are right this second!" LaLanne said.

He used to say "I cannot afford to die. It will ruin my image."

But his passion for changing the images of others could very well be his lasting legacy.

Jack LaLanne had a couple simple rules of nutrition:

"If man made it, don't eat it," and "If it tastes good, spit it out."

LaLanne was 96. He is survived by his wife and three children.

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