Joe Weider, a bodybuilding and fitness expert who was a mentor to Arnold Schwarzenegger, died of heart failure at his home in Los Angeles Saturday, The Associated Press reports. He was 93.
"Today, I lost a dear friend and mentor, and the world lost one its strongest advocates of living a healthy lifestyle," Schwarzenegger said in a statement on his website. "Joe Weider was a titan in the fitness industry and one of the kindest men I have ever met. Joe didn't just inspire my earliest dreams; he made them come true the day he invited me to move to America to pursue my bodybuilding career."
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Born in Montreal, Weider began lifting weights after he was turned down from joining a local wrestling team because of his small size, the AP reports. By age 17, he had won his first bodybuilding ranking. Later, he and his brother started a mail-order barbell business, formed the International Federation of Bodybuilders and held the first Mr. Canada competition in 1946.
Weider popularized bodybuilding with appearances in such magazines as Muscle & Fitness and Flex. (Schwarzenegger is now the executive editor of both.) He also created bodybuilding events such as the Mr. and Ms. Olympia contests, the Fitness Olympia and the Figure Olympia.
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Weider brought Schwarzenegger to the States from Austria and began training him and encouraging him to pursue a career as a film actor, the AP reports. He helped Schwarzenegger land his first movie role, in Hercules in New York, by telling producers he was a German Shakespearean actor, according to the AP.
He is survived by his wife.