John Alleman, the man who was such a big cheerleader for the Heart Attack Grill that he was dubbed as the artery-clogging restaurant’s unofficial spokesman, died Monday of a heart attack at age 52.
Alleman had what the Las Vegas-based restaurant called a “massive heart attack” on Friday and was on life support in the cardiac unit at Sunrise Hospital before dying Monday, the Heart Attack Grill wrote on its Facebook page.
Alleman worked as a security guard, but he was dubbed the restaurant’s spokesman because he was always seen outside the Heart Attack Grill trying to get customers to grab a Quadruple Bypass Burger, Flatliner Fries or Butterfat Shake. Despite the artery-clogging fare on the menu, Alleman weighed only 180 pounds, Heart Attack Grill owner Jon Basso told the Las Vegas Sun.
"He never missed a day, even on Christmas," Basso told the paper. "People just loved him. He connected with people in a real way."
“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,” the Heart Attack Grill wrote on its Facebook page. “John was a fun spirited man who valued laughter above all else. He was loved deeply and will be missed.”
Alleman was also featured on the restaurant’s menu.
“John was such a part of the HAG family. It's hard to look at our menu today without getting teary eyed,” the Facebook page said.
The Heart Attack Grill drew massive publicity for its no-shame approach to food, including its Bypass Burgers and Coronary Dogs.
The restaurant has a “diet program” on its website that encourages burgers, fries, Full Sugar Coke “and no-filter cigarettes” as part of a balanced diet. Heart Attack Grill’s slogan is “Taste Worth Dying For.”
Heart Attack Grill opened its doors in downtown Las Vegas about two years ago, and Alleman is already the second unofficial spokesman to die, according to the Sun.
Blair River, the first unofficial spokesman, died of flu-related pneumonia in March 2011. The 29-year-old weighed 575 pounds.
That same year, a Heart Attack Grill customer had a heart attack inside the restaurant. Customers thought it was a publicity act and took pictures as the man suffered, Fox News reported. It was unclear whether he survived.
In April 2012, a woman in her 40s collapsed at the restaurant while eating a Double Bypass Burger, drinking a margarita and smoking cigarettes.
Basso said the previous incidents and Alleman’s death isn’t making the restaurant reconsider its unhealthy theme.
The death “isn't going to stop us from what we're doing. People have got to live their lives," he said.