Many kids look up to a Superhero. I’d like to take a moment and pay tribute to a man who laid out the foundation for health and wellness and still is a personal superhero hero to me. I can remember as a little girl watching black and white exercise shows, wide-eyed in amazement, seeing this 5’6″ man perform all types of exercises and stunts using a dining room chair. He was lean yet powerful, friendly, confident and kind. Intuitively, I knew I wanted to be like him. He wore no fancy costume, his powers involved making wellness his permanent lifestyle by choice and being self-disciplined. He rescued others by inspiring and teaching them. Mission accomplished Jack. Fitness icon Jack Lalanne a man who pushed Americans to pump iron, eat better and lose weight for more than 70 years, has died. He was 96. The “godfather of fitness” died of respiratory failure from pneumonia in his Morro Bay California home several weeks ago, his long time agent Rick Hersh told The Associated Press. LaLanne underwent a successful heart valve surgery two years ago and bounced back as strong and active as ever. LaLanne started watching how he lived at the age of 15. Born Francois Henri LaLanne in San Francisco (his parents were French immigrants), he felt the effects of sugar and bleached flour in his diet. After hearing a health lecture, he devoted his life to following a diet of raw, unprocessed foods. His dietary routine: two meals a day and no snacks. He was also known for his extreme fitness stunts. The body-building fanatic churned out 1,000 push-ups in 23 minutes on the television show “You Asked for it” at age 43, in 1957. LaLanne was a fitness pioneer. He focused on weight-training at a time when the idea of pumping iron was not so acceptable, especially for women. “You have to understand that it was absolutely forbidden in those days for athletes to use weights. It just wasn’t done. We had athletes who used to sneak into the studio to work out,” he once said. “Athletic trainers believed bulking up would slow athletes down and women were supposed to look curvy and feminine, not athletic and toned. Back then, women weren’t supposed to use weights. I guess I was a pioneer,” LaLanne said. He became a household name after he launched a televised exercise program in the 1950s that aired until the 1970s. He would forever after be known for his dedication to healthy living and his signature one-piece belted workout suit. “This is a nation of tired people,” he said, in an effort to encourage people to exercise. “Everyone is suffering from that chroinc disease that I like to call pooped-out-itis. Inactivity is a killer,” LaLanne once said. “The only way you can hurt the body is not use it and I never think about my age, never. I could be 20, I could be 100. I never think about it, I’m just me,” LaLanne said in 1990. At age 60, noted The New York Times he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf while pulling a 1,000-pound boat – and while handcuffed. At 70, shackled again, he pulled 70 people in 70 boats 1½ miles through Long Beach Harbor. As for keeping body and soul together, “It’s got to start with young kids,” LaLanne told PEOPLE magazine. When discussing young people going through emotional and physical problems, he said “They need to develop pride and discipline and watch what they put into their bodies,” or as he put it: the right fuel in the machine. As he liked to say, “I can’t die. It would ruin my image.” LaLanne opened the nation’s first modern health club in California’s Oakland, in 1936, and it featured exercise equipment, a juice bar and health food store. Eventually this developed into a 100-strong Jack LaLanne gym chain across the country. He would also market a highly successful juicer. Check out: www.powerjuicer.com. His syndicated The Jack LaLanne Show, which opened with his performing jumping jacks under the credits in his signature belted jumpsuits, debuted in daytime in 1959 and ran for 34 years, solidifying his reputation. After more than 3,000 shows, LaLanne, who owned all rights, repackaged the program and leased it to ESPN Classic. LaLanne is survived by his wife and workout partner Elaine, his two sons Dan and Jon, and a daughter, Yvonne. “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,” Elaine LaLanne said in a statement. The two had been married for 51 years. Rest in peace my Legend & Superhero. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to making a difference. You did and will continue to for generations to come. You have impacted this world in such a positive way, you have no idea.