LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Joe Weider, the fitness and bodybuilding guru who built a magazine empire that included such publications as Muscle and Fitness, Shape and Men's Fitness, died on Saturday at the age of 93, his publicist said.
Weider, also known for creating the Mr Olympia bodybuilding contest and mentoring a young Arnold Schwarzenegger, died of heart failure, publicist Charlotte Parker said.
"Joe Weider was a titan in the fitness industry and one of the kindest men I have ever met," Schwarzenegger said in a statement posted on his website.
"He leaves behind a fantastic legacy of a fitter world," the film star and former governor of California said. "Very few people can claim to have influenced as many lives as Joe did through his magazines, his supplements, his training equipment and his big-hearted personality."
Born in Montreal in 1920, Weider began lifting weights as a teenager to stand up to neighborhood bullies before competing in his first bodybuilding contest at the age of 17.
He started his first magazine, Your Physique, in the 1940s and in 1965 created the Mr Olympia competition, the premiere bodybuilding contest.
Schwarzenegger first gained fame by winning Mr Olympia titles in the 1970s before retiring from bodybuilding in 1975 and going on to a successful career in action films and then politics.
Weider is survived by his wife, Betty.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and David Brunnstrom)