1933 - 2018
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Don Wildman, age 85, born in Los Angeles, California, February 7th, 1933, passed away Sunday, September 16th, 2018 at his Malibu estate in the company of his wife, Nimisha, and sons Don, Jr., Bill and John. Don courageously fought a multi-year battle with cancer but finally succumbed to the disease when he elected to discontinue treatment after it spread to his brain. Known for his insatiable passion for healthy living, and for building the world largest health club chain, Don continued his infamous workouts right up until the day he died.
Don's passion for fitness started early as a star high school athlete in football, track and boxing. After returning from the Korean War in 1953, Don, then 20 years old, went to work in the fitness business. Soon after Don founded Health & Tennis Corporation of America, eventually growing the company to nearly 400 locations, more than 20,000 employees and over one billion dollars in annual revenue. Don is largely credited with building the health club industry through innovative celebrity-based advertising, plus being the first fitness center chain to offer group exercise classes to music, circuit training and many other fitness innovations. In 1994, Don sold his company to Bally, retiring at the age of 61.
A world-class athlete in several sports, Don competed in nine Ironman Triathlons, finishing 1st in his age group. He also twice participated in the 3,000-mile Race Across America bike race, the New York and L.A. marathons, as well as many other fitness competitions worldwide. Don was also an avid snowboarder, surfer and unquenchable entrepreneur, which led him, at the age of 80, to create the now globally-popular GolfBoard. Plus, he recently appeared on the TV Show Shark Tank to launch his innovative Hand-Out Gloves.
Loved and admired by many, Don was affectionately championed as the "Patriarch of the Malibu Mob," a group of high visibility celebrities and athletes that share Don's passion for fitness, exercised, played and traveled the world together looking for adventure. Don met his wife Nimisha in October of 2011, and they were married on July 25th, 2015. He is survived by his wife, three sons, ten grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
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