TODAY   |  June 19, 2013

Injured Marine becomes fitness model

Four years ago, Alex Minsky nearly died from an IED blast in Afghanistan that cost him part of his right leg, but today he is overcoming his injuries and struggles with alcoholism to inspire others as a fitness model. NBC’s Tamron Hall reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> now to an inspirational story about an injured marine that found a surprising new career in the modeling world.

>> good morning. well, four years ago alex nearly died from an ied blast in afghanistan. he is still coping with his injuries but his physical obstacles are only part of what he's had to overcome.

>> ripped, cut, no fat on this frame, serious ink and a sparkling smile. the way he looks today, it's no surprise he has become a hot new player in the fitness model game. this comes from two grueling workouts a day. tough for anyone, two legs or just one.

>> it's hard, you know, and it hurts.

>> reporter: it's nothing compared to what alex has been through starting with an ied explosion in afghanistan four years ago.

>> it didn't look good. i had a stage 3 brain injury . i was in a coma for 47 days.

>> he beat the odds walking again with a prosthetic limb but just two months after alex left the marines, his younger brother danielle pass dan -- daniel passed away. that loss sent him into a tail spin .

>> i was using alcohol to numb whatever was going on in my head.

>> hell bent on destroying himself. isolated.

>> that time was tougher than his physical injuries.

>> when you have demons in your head and you are depressed, there isn't anybody that can really take care of that besides yourself.

>> after multiple dui arrests, alex decided to quit drinking. almost immediately his life changed again.

>> second day i was sober i was working out just doing my thing and this guy came up to me and he said i like the way you look and i want to know if you ever modelled before.

>> that photographer was tom.

>> alex has inspired me to look at beauty differently.

>> and just nine months after his first shoot, alex ''s photos are heating up the internet and photographs are lining up to work with him but he says it's not about the fame.

>> my sanity, my happiness, you know? i'm working on me, you know? for the first time. i'm not run agoway anymore.

>> alex says his biggest hope as a model is to inspire others to get healthy and overcome their own challenges, whatever they may be. i have to tell you, of course we thank him for his service and bravery but when i first saw his pictures i said hey, now. i think i said mercy and kept looking at more.