Heart Attack Grill claims second victim

A waitress at the calorie-friendly  Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas shows off one of the burgers served at the restaurant. Photograph: Reuters

A waitress at the calorie-friendly Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas shows off one of the burgers served at the restaurant. Photograph: Reuters

Wed, Feb 13, 2013, 00:00

The unofficial spokesman for the calorie and fat-laden Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas has died — of a heart attack.

John Alleman (52) was the second unpaid mascot to die in the past two years.

He collapsed while waiting at a bus stop in front of the diner last week and was taken off life support on Monday.

The medically themed diner is famous for its huge hamburgers, extra-fat milkshakes and chips cooked in lard. It uses the tagline: “Taste worth dying for.”

Owner Jon Basso said that Mr Alleman went to the restaurant daily and encouraged passing tourists to try its offerings.

“He never missed a day, even on Christmas,” Mr Basso said. “People just loved him. He connected with people in a real way.”

Mr Alleman became an unofficial mascot for the restaurant, which features waitresses dressed in nurse uniforms. His caricature as “patient John” graced its merchandise and menus.

In 2011, another unofficial spokesman, 41-stone Blair River, died aged 29. At the time, friends said pneumonia may have been the cause of death.

In 2012, a man in his 40s was hospitalised after he began sweating and shaking while eating a 6,000-calorie Triple Bypass burger at the restaurant.

The ominously named diner features tongue-in-cheek health warnings and casts customers as patients. Eaters are given surgical gowns as they choose from a calorifically extravagant menu.

Mr Basso said Alleman weighed about 13 stones and his death showed heart attacks can happen to anyone.

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