A 52-year-old man who ate at the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas every day and served as the company's unofficial spokesperson has died of an apparent heart attack, the Las Vegas Sun reports.
The death of John Alleman, whose caricature appears on the restaurant's menus and merchandise, comes nearly a year after another customer suffered a non-fatal heart attack and two years after the death by pneumonia of their previous spokesperson, 575-pound Blair River.
The restaurant opened in Nevada in October 2011 following the success of the original Heart Attack Grill in Arizona. The chain serves high-fat meals that top out at more than 9,000 calories, including the massive Quadruple Bypass Burger. Heart Attack Grill offers free meals to anyone who weighs more than 350 pounds and hires sexy waitresses who dress as nurses. Customers are called "patients" and don medical gowns before dining.
Heart Attack Grill owner Jon Basso said Alleman "lived a very full life" but suffered from a genetic predisposition that put him at risk of a heart attack. Alleman, who worked security at nearby abandoned construction site, would apparently visit the restaurant daily and coax potential customers to come inside. He was not paid for his passion and refused free meals. "He never missed a day, even on Christmas," Basso told the Journal. "People just loved him. He connected with people in a real way."
The following message appeared last Friday on Heart Attack Grill's Facebook page, prior to Alleman being taken off of life support: "For the past 18 months if you happen to walk by the Heart Attack Grill you were probably approached by our new spokesman John Alleman. So colorful was John's sales pitch that we placed him on the cover of our menu. He was so popular with the customers that last summer we gave him his own 'Patient John' clothing line on our website. John truly loved HAG and would spend hours every day getting the word out to anyone who would listen." A message posted on Monday said that Alleman's brother and Basso were at his side when life support was turned off.
Alleman only weighed 180 pounds, and Basso said this is proof that a heart attack can happen to anyone. Basso does not plan to take any of his high-calorie foods off the menu.
Funeral plans for Alleman have not yet been announced. Heart Attack Grill says it will be closed on that day in observance and called for its customers to attend the funeral.
ABC News posted this report about Alleman's heart attack: