Fitness World founder Henry Polessky dies

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      The man who created one of the most popular gyms in the country has passed away.

      Henry Polessky died peacefully in the presence of his family and loved ones on on January 10, according to a news release issued by Steve Nash Fitness Clubs.

      He was 74 and had been suffering from cancer.

      Polessky launched Fitness World in 1978, building it into a chain of 13 gyms. The company says that over the years, more than 400,000 people have become healthier through these locations.

      He was also a supporter of the Canadian Cancer Society, the Rick Hansen Foundation, the Michael Cuccione Foundation, and Augie's Quest for ALS.

      In 2009, Steve Nash Fitness Clubs took over the Fitness World brand, with Polessky remaining with the company as an adviser.

      The organization's president and CEO, Don Harbich, called Polessky an "icon" in the industry.

      “On behalf of the Steve Nash Fitness Club family, I would like to send my sincere condolences to Henry’s family during this difficult time," Harbich said. "Henry was seminal in the development of this organization, he was a great Advisor to the organization, and he showed true pride and dedication in his work in the fitness industry. You have much to be proud of in the legacy he has left to all of us. His passing is a loss not only to the company but to our entire community. He will be greatly missed.”

      People can express condolences on the Steve Nash Fitness Clubs Facebook page.