575-pound Heart Attack Grill spokesman dies
29-year-old Blair River starred in ads pitching 'taste ... worth dying for.'
Fri, Mar 04, 2011 at 10:25 AM
Photo: Javier de Jaureguiberry/Flickr
Larger-than-life restaurant spokesperson Blair River, who weighed 575 pounds and starred in ads for an Arizona restaurant called the Heart Attack Grill, has died, the Arizona Republic reports. He was 29.
The Heart Attack Grill, located outside of Phoenix near an American Indian reservation, serves foods like "flatliner" fries and the "quadruple bypass burger." According to a November report from TodayShow.com, patrons put on medical gowns before eating, while the waitresses wear skimpy nurse outfits.
River starred in a series of television ads bearing the tagline, "taste ... worth dying for." The ads said that anyone weighing more than 350 pounds could eat at the restaurant for free.
Grill founder Jon Basso, who also mans the restaurant's grill, called River a "creative genius" whose personality, not his size, drove the ad campaign. "Cynical people might think this (River's death) is funny," he told the Arizona Republic. "But people who knew him are crying their eyes out. There is a lot of mourning going on around here. You couldn't have found a better person."
Friends told the Arizona Republic that River's cause of death was not yet known, but they speculated it was caused by pneumonia, which Blair contracted after getting the flu.
Here's one of the Heart Attack Grill ads starring River: