Joe Weider spent his life building a fitness empire that eventually featured the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger. On Saturday, Joe Weider died at the age of 93. The bodybuilding legend was being cared for at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.
Weider suffered from heart failure, according to his longtime publicist, Charlotte Parker.
A small teenager of just 97-pounds, the fitness mogul became tired of being bullied and began lifting weights after discovering fitness through the popular magazine Strength and Health. He developed his body and, by 16, claimed he could bench-press 330 pounds. Weider would go on to develop a massive V-shaped torso that because famous in the 1970s and 1980s.
Weider eventually took his love of fitness to the magazine world, launching such popular selections as Muscle and Fitness, Flex, Men’s Fitness, and the women’s fitness magazine Shape.
The magazine mogul would go on to attract more than 25 million readers to his set of publications.
Along with his brother, Ben Weider, the men founded the International Federation of Body Builders, which helped promote fitness events including Mr. Olympia and Mr. Universe, among other events. The IFBB would go on to found affiliate organizations in more than 170 countries. The federation would go on to promote bodybuilding as an international sport with Olympic hopes.
The organization and the sport became so popular that by 1968 Joe Weider had recruited Arnold Schwarzenegger to move from Austria to Los Angeles where he was paid $100 per week to write articles for the magazines and promote the company’s products.
In a statement following Joe Weider’s death, Schwarzenegger said:
“He advised me on my training, on my business ventures, and once, bizarrely, claimed I was a German Shakespearean actor to get me my first acting role in ‘Hercules in New York,’ even though I barely spoke English. He was there for me constantly throughout my life, and I will miss him dearly.”
Among Joe Weider’s inventions was the fitness equipment Solid Steel Tricep Bomber and food supplements that included Dynamic Muscle Builder protein powder, Carbo Energizer Chewables, Performance Foods and Anabolic Mega-Paks.