PHOENIX - A 575-pound man who gained a measure of fame as spokesman for the Heart Attack Grill a Phoenix-area restaurant that unabashedly touts its unhealthy, high-calorie menu has died.
Friends of 29-year-old Blair River say he died Tuesday, possibly from contracting pneumonia after a bout with the flu.
Restaurant founder Jon Basso tells The Arizona Republic that River was more than the larger-than-life caricature he portrayed in promoting the restaurant in Chandler, which includes huge hamburgers, milkshakes and fries cooked in lard on its menu.
Basso says River was a creative genius who had been planning to take part in the shooting of a promotional spot called, "Heart Attack Grill: The Musical."
The 6-foot-8 River was an Arizona state heavyweight wrestling champion in 1999.
As Basso told Bill Geist on CBS' "Sunday Morning" in 2008, "Our motto is simple: Taste worth dying for."