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The Dragon Slayer Speaks

Rich Gaspari - the dragon slayer
The Passing of a Bodybuilding Icon: Bob Kennedy
04/13/2012

It has come to my attention that Bob Kennedy has passed away today after battling lung cancer. It is truly sad to lose such a genuine icon in the fitness field that had such an incredible passion for bodybuilding, health and fitness.

Just last month Bob was the well-deserved recipient of the Arnold Lifetime Achievement Award. He was already so sick by then that he was home in Canada while his wife Tosca accepted the award on his behalf. That was the first I heard that Bob was very ill, and it saddened me to get that news. This was a man who was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet, and who truly loved the sport of bodybuilding.

I first met Bob back in 1985 when I placed second in the Night of the Champions, and later in the year when I took third in my first Mr. Olympia. He gave me words of encouragement, telling me that I would be a great champion in the sport of bodybuilding. Bob even offered to help me write a book, an offer unfortunately I didn't take him up on but wish I had. Anything he published was always first-class.

When I first started lifting weights, his magazine MuscleMag International was one of the magazines I loved to read. It had so much great information that helped inspire me and reach my goals in bodybuilding. Many years later after I started my business, he would always make a point to stop by my booth to offer support and encouragement. Bob told me he knew that someday Gaspari Nutrition would be a hugely successful company. He was always one to wish others success and remind them to keep pushing even when things weren't going as well as you had hoped. Bob knew from his own personal experiences in publishing that starting up a business was not easy, but with hard work and belief in yourself and your product, success was assured. MuscleMag was on the verge of bankruptcy several times in its early years, but Bob persevered and built a publishing empire that encompassed several magazines and many best-selling books.

Later when I became more successful, he would write me letters saying how impressed he was at my accomplishments as a businessman; and how I was a great representative for bodybuilding. His work ethic was unprecedented. Not many people could do what he did, with the many publications he had and the many books he wrote. Through them, he influenced millions of people to take up bodybuilding and fitness as a healthy lifestyle. He will truly be missed by the bodybuilding industry.

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