Food and Nutrition

575-lb "Heart Attack Grill" Spokesman Blair River Dies at 29

| by Kate Wharmby Seldman

The 575-pound spokesman for the Heart Attack Grill restaurant has died at the age of 29.

Blair River's cause of death is unknown, but the 6-foot-8 man is thought to have died from complications of pneumonia brought on by the flu.

River was the spokesman for the Heart Attack Grill, a restaurant in Chandler, Arizona, where people over 350 pounds can eat for free. The Grill specializes in big burgers, milkshakes, and fries cooked in lard, and revels in being an unhealthy place to eat.

There's even a warning on the door: "Go away, if you come in this place, it's going to kill you." River came up with that idea: He also was the originator of the idea that over-350-pounders could dine without paying.

River also starred in tongue-in-cheek commercials for the Grill. See one, about the Heart Attack Grill's "diet program," below. Restaurant founder Jon Basso met River when he was a customer at the Grill, and River soon became the Grill's larger-than-life spokesman.

By all accounts, River, a former high school wrestling champion, was a gentle giant of a man, and was well-loved. "There's a lot of mourning going on around here," said Jon Basso. "You couldn't have found a better person."