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Tony Nowak, RIP


LT and Tony Nowak

As I often say, tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone.

I got the shocking news moments after arriving home from teaching my three Health lecture classes at East Los Angeles College; Tony Nowak, one of the nicest, and most generous human beings you could ever meet, passed away while on vacationing with his son in Italy. Initial reports list a heart attack as the cause of death.

Attached is a photo that Dave Liberman took of Tony and I moments after the Arnold Classic last month in Columbus, Ohio. During the weekend, I brought Tony to the stage as he presented his signature “Arnold Classic” jackets to all the top finishers in the various events throughout the weekend.

We talked about getting together soon at his El Segundo, CA office, just like we had done the previous years after he insisted on giving me (another) new jacket. Not heeding my own advice, I failed to set up a specific time, assuming we could hook up in the near future. Another example of how today is a blessing, tomorrow is luck. My bad, Tony.

We’ll miss you dearly. To the Nowak family, our sincerest condolances.

28 Comments

  1. Jacek

    April 12, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Toni was a great guy.

  2. Jacek

    April 12, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Toni was a great guy.

  3. Brigitte

    April 13, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Tony was a wonderful, generous and giving person. He will be very missed by many people. My heart goes out to his family. My condolances.

  4. Brigitte

    April 13, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Tony was a wonderful, generous and giving person. He will be very missed by many people. My heart goes out to his family. My condolances.

  5. Eric the Trainer

    April 15, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Tony was an amazing person with a big heart and a sharp wit. He will be missed by all of us in the fitness world. His jackets were a staple of true champion bodybuilders. Tony, you left us too quickly. We miss you….

  6. Eric the Trainer

    April 15, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Tony was an amazing person with a big heart and a sharp wit. He will be missed by all of us in the fitness world. His jackets were a staple of true champion bodybuilders. Tony, you left us too quickly. We miss you….

  7. Mark

    April 16, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    There are so many people whose lives Tony touched. There was nothing phony about the man just sincerity from his true heart. I will miss you Tony and thank you for my wonderful jacket–I will treasure them always.

  8. Mark

    April 16, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    There are so many people whose lives Tony touched. There was nothing phony about the man just sincerity from his true heart. I will miss you Tony and thank you for my wonderful jacket–I will treasure them always.

  9. Duncan

    April 17, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Tony was big in the fitness world, but he was also big outside of it.
    Tony’s reach was worldwide. He has left a mark even he wouldn’t believe.
    A legendary man.
    Tony you are missed.

  10. Duncan

    April 17, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Tony was big in the fitness world, but he was also big outside of it.
    Tony’s reach was worldwide. He has left a mark even he wouldn’t believe.
    A legendary man.
    Tony you are missed.

  11. Karen Howard

    April 17, 2010 at 1:42 am

    I saw a different side of Tony than most ~ I taught his son piano, and Tony thought it was such an awesome skill to acquire, encouraged his son, and was so proud of his progress and musicality. He had the greatest smile and that warm and generous heart that everyone speaks of was always evident. My heartfelt prayers are with his entire family. Though he has left this world, I know he will be hanging around to watch over his wife and son.

  12. Karen Howard

    April 17, 2010 at 1:42 am

    I saw a different side of Tony than most ~ I taught his son piano, and Tony thought it was such an awesome skill to acquire, encouraged his son, and was so proud of his progress and musicality. He had the greatest smile and that warm and generous heart that everyone speaks of was always evident. My heartfelt prayers are with his entire family. Though he has left this world, I know he will be hanging around to watch over his wife and son.

  13. Zak Lee Guarnaccia

    April 17, 2010 at 2:21 am

    Tomorrow Saturday 17th Is a sad day for me as well a great day to acknowledge, pay my respect and remember my very best friend and an old brother to me just pass away. Tony Nowak, (for some people Big-Tony) one of the nicest, and most generous human beings you could ever meet, a straight talker and the most honest person. He embrace me from the first day I moved in LA, I loved him and he was an inspiration for me. A big-guy behind the scene of lots celebrity and never care to gain a credit, and always very supportive to all my dreams without hiding to tell me the truth. I might will missing him, but alway he will be with me…

  14. Zak Lee Guarnaccia

    April 17, 2010 at 2:21 am

    Tomorrow Saturday 17th Is a sad day for me as well a great day to acknowledge, pay my respect and remember my very best friend and an old brother to me just pass away. Tony Nowak, (for some people Big-Tony) one of the nicest, and most generous human beings you could ever meet, a straight talker and the most honest person. He embrace me from the first day I moved in LA, I loved him and he was an inspiration for me. A big-guy behind the scene of lots celebrity and never care to gain a credit, and always very supportive to all my dreams without hiding to tell me the truth. I might will missing him, but alway he will be with me…

  15. Thresa Katz

    April 18, 2010 at 1:30 am

    Such a sweet, gentle, giving man. One of the highlights of my every trip to the Mr. Olympia. When he shook your hand, you were no longer a stranger being introduced — but a new friend.

  16. Thresa Katz

    April 18, 2010 at 1:30 am

    Such a sweet, gentle, giving man. One of the highlights of my every trip to the Mr. Olympia. When he shook your hand, you were no longer a stranger being introduced — but a new friend.

  17. Randy Rousseau

    April 19, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Tony Nowak

    If I were to chose a word from the dictionary to best describe Tony it would be, “original” because that is what Tony was. He had to be the product of a brand new mold. He was a character that stood out from all of the others. He was like no other person I have ever met. He stood out and because of that he stood alone, in his actions, in his attitude and in his creations.
    LISTEN TO ME! THAT’S IT, END OF STORY, CASE CLOSED!!!!
    Not easy to deal with, yet extremely generous, quick to respond, yet found time to listen and respect others positions, if you had the courage to express them.

    He was a big man not just in statue but in opinion, and he had his opinions and expressed them in a big way, yet demonstrated a gentle and open appreciation of others. He was quick to express his opinions and yet quick to apologize for offending others.

    He had a strong loyalty both in his respect for his human brothers and sisters and for his country. In my experience with him I found him to be very protective and loyal to first, his son Maria and family, to his friends and to his country. He expressed a strong love for all of them.

    Rudyard Kipling’s poem fits Tony very well and the line I like the most about Tony is, “If you can walk with Kings nor lose the common touch.”

    Tony was a man, a man who did that and he touched my soul. Tony was an original and as a result he was a character, who created original works of art that in turn expressed a part of what each of us represent. When the label created by Tony Nowak was sown to his creation it represented just that, a part of him came with his creation.

    I am honored to have been a small part of Tony’s life my life has been enriched by knowing him. He filled all of his life’s roles with complete loyalty and devotion.

    Thanks for the memories, God Bless Tony.

    Your friend Randy Rousseau

  18. Randy Rousseau

    April 19, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Tony Nowak

    If I were to chose a word from the dictionary to best describe Tony it would be, “original” because that is what Tony was. He had to be the product of a brand new mold. He was a character that stood out from all of the others. He was like no other person I have ever met. He stood out and because of that he stood alone, in his actions, in his attitude and in his creations.
    LISTEN TO ME! THAT’S IT, END OF STORY, CASE CLOSED!!!!
    Not easy to deal with, yet extremely generous, quick to respond, yet found time to listen and respect others positions, if you had the courage to express them.

    He was a big man not just in statue but in opinion, and he had his opinions and expressed them in a big way, yet demonstrated a gentle and open appreciation of others. He was quick to express his opinions and yet quick to apologize for offending others.

    He had a strong loyalty both in his respect for his human brothers and sisters and for his country. In my experience with him I found him to be very protective and loyal to first, his son Maria and family, to his friends and to his country. He expressed a strong love for all of them.

    Rudyard Kipling’s poem fits Tony very well and the line I like the most about Tony is, “If you can walk with Kings nor lose the common touch.”

    Tony was a man, a man who did that and he touched my soul. Tony was an original and as a result he was a character, who created original works of art that in turn expressed a part of what each of us represent. When the label created by Tony Nowak was sown to his creation it represented just that, a part of him came with his creation.

    I am honored to have been a small part of Tony’s life my life has been enriched by knowing him. He filled all of his life’s roles with complete loyalty and devotion.

    Thanks for the memories, God Bless Tony.

    Your friend Randy Rousseau

  19. peter seremetkovski

    April 27, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    tony, was a great gentleman who helped everyone, i recently bougth 8 jackets from tony and he even got one signed by arnold himself for me thats what i call a terrific man .
    god bless tony .
    your macedonian friend from australia, peter seremetkovski

  20. peter seremetkovski

    April 27, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    tony, was a great gentleman who helped everyone, i recently bougth 8 jackets from tony and he even got one signed by arnold himself for me thats what i call a terrific man .
    god bless tony .
    your macedonian friend from australia, peter seremetkovski

  21. Javier Avila

    May 28, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    My cousin Oscar and I trained at the original World Gym in Santa Monica in the 80’s when I first met Tony. My cousin Oscar already knew Tony and he introduced me to him. It’s like what the person stated in a previous posting “When he shook your hand, you were no longer a stranger being introduced — but a new friend.” You either liked Tony or disliked him there was no in between. Tony was the most up front guy I ever met. We will miss you Polaco.

  22. Javier Avila

    May 28, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    My cousin Oscar and I trained at the original World Gym in Santa Monica in the 80’s when I first met Tony. My cousin Oscar already knew Tony and he introduced me to him. It’s like what the person stated in a previous posting “When he shook your hand, you were no longer a stranger being introduced — but a new friend.” You either liked Tony or disliked him there was no in between. Tony was the most up front guy I ever met. We will miss you Polaco.

  23. Polaco

    October 7, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Tęsknimy za Tobą Tomasz! ;(

  24. Polaco

    October 7, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Tęsknimy za Tobą Tomasz! ;(

  25. johnsantillo

    January 10, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Big Tony, The strongest guy I ever trained with he made everthing look lite and had fun doing it. When he walked into a room everybody stopped and looked.

  26. johnsantillo

    January 10, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Big Tony, The strongest guy I ever trained with he made everthing look lite and had fun doing it. When he walked into a room everybody stopped and looked.

  27. Spike

    March 4, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    RIP Tony, you were an amazing person. I had attended the Arnold for many years and always looked at your jackets. Then in 2000 I finally stopped in your booth and you personally took your time with me and I parted with my hard earned money foer the millenium “2000” once in a lifetime edition jacket with a huge smile on my face. Let me tell you, this man didn’t know me from jack and he treated me like he knew me for years, he took the time to fit me with the right jacket and made me feel special. I can tell you this, he did this with everyone of his customers. I already cherished this jacket and only wear it on special occasions, now it is even that much more special. Thank you Tony for being a true class human being, I wlll always remember that day. My prayers and condolensces to you are your family. I know your in heaven looking down on all of us wearing your great jackets with a big smile on your face too!

  28. Spike

    March 4, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    RIP Tony, you were an amazing person. I had attended the Arnold for many years and always looked at your jackets. Then in 2000 I finally stopped in your booth and you personally took your time with me and I parted with my hard earned money foer the millenium “2000” once in a lifetime edition jacket with a huge smile on my face. Let me tell you, this man didn’t know me from jack and he treated me like he knew me for years, he took the time to fit me with the right jacket and made me feel special. I can tell you this, he did this with everyone of his customers. I already cherished this jacket and only wear it on special occasions, now it is even that much more special. Thank you Tony for being a true class human being, I wlll always remember that day. My prayers and condolensces to you are your family. I know your in heaven looking down on all of us wearing your great jackets with a big smile on your face too!

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