Jack LaLanne, Bob Harper

The world of fitness lost an icon on January 23 when Jack LaLanne, a pioneer in the health and fitness industry, passed away at age 96.

"It's a sad day in my business," Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper told TV Guide Magazine. "I was aware of Jack LaLanne over 20 years ago when I started in the business, and I remember always being very receptive to him because he was such a man. He made working out macho and he made his workouts so relevant."

LaLanne, who died of complications from pneumonia, had spent 70 years teaching the power of strength training and healthy eating. In fact, LaLanne — known also for his own brand of juicers — followed a diet of raw, unprocessed foods and no snacking. 

Though Harper never had a chance to cross paths with LaLanne, he served as an inspiration for the trainer. "He was in my world, even though I never got to meet him," says Harper. "His longevity speaks for itself. The fact that not only would he talk about exercise, which is such a huge component, but [also] nutrition was so big for him. The importance of eating more holistic, that's what got him to the ripe old age of 96, and I just hope that I can follow in his footsteps."

Harper's sentiments are echoed by his training partner Jillian Michaels, who in a statement tells TV Guide Magazine: "I am saddened to hear about the passing of such a great man. He was an inspirational trailblazer who brought a friendly face to fitness for millions. His methods and example will be remembered and respected for years to come."

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