Ben Weider, who co-founded Weider Publications (including Men's Fitness), died suddenly Friday at a Montreal hospital. He was 85.
Weider, along with his brother, Joe, essentially created the fitness industry with training strategies, nutritional advice, and supplements and fitness publications, including Muscle & Fitness, Flex, Shape, Fit Pregnancy and Men's Fitness. The magazines were acquired in 2003 by American Media, MF's parent company.
In 1946, the Weiders formed the International Brotherhood of Body Builders, which sanctions thousands of bodybuilding competitions around the world.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Weider family," says Roy S. Johnson, editor-in-chief of Men's Fitness. "Without Ben and his brother we simply would not be here for the myriad men who utilize us to get fitter every day. Millions of men are indebted to the Weiders."
Ben also played a key role in launching Arnold Schwarzenegger's career in the United States when the Weiders brought the young Austrian bodybuilder to California in 1968.
Weider, considered a scholarly expert on the life and death of Napoleon Bonaparte, also co-authored a book about the legendary military and political leader called The Murder of Napoleon.
Weider was awarded the French Legion of Honor for his research on Napoleon.