Jack LaLanne, Television Fitness Guru, Dies at 96

8:57 PM PST 01/23/2011 by Bryan Alexander
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'The Jack LaLanne Show' workout program premiered in San Francisco in 1951 and aired for three decades.

Jack LaLanne, the man recognized as the founder of the modern physical fitness movement, died Sunday afternoon at his home in Morro Bay, Calif, according to the New York Times. He was 96.

The cause of death was respiratory failure resulting from pneumonia, his son Dan Doyle told the paper.

The Jack LaLanne Show was the forerunner of the modern fitness show and made its debut in 1951 as a local program in the San Francisco area. It went nationwide on daytime television in 1959 making LaLanne's short-sleeved jumpsuit nationally recognized.

His show continued into the mid-1980s and continues in reruns on ESPN Classic.

In his later years, he appeared in late-night infomercials pitching the benefits of juicing.

LaLanne's wife of 51 years, Elaine, released a statement on her husband's passing according to CNN: "I have not only lost my husband and a great American icon, but the best friend and most loving partner anyone could ever hope for."

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