PowerBar Founder Dies of Heart Attack

MSNBC PowerBar founder dies of heart attack

Brian Maxwell, founder of the multimillion-dollar PowerBar empire and a former world-class marathon runner, has died of a heart attack, friends said. He was 51.


Maxwell and his wife Jennifer, a nutritionist, co-founded the popular energy bar company in 1986 and began selling PowerBars out of their kitchen.

Over the next decade, the Berkeley, Calif.-based firm grew to $150 million in sales and 300 employees. In March 2000, the couple sold the company to Nestle SA for a reported $375 million.

Maxwell, who was born in London but grew up in Toronto, represented Canada in many international competitions as a long-distance runner. He was part of the 1980 Olympic team that boycotted the games in Moscow.

In 1977 Maxwell was ranked the No. 3 marathon runner in the world by Track and Field News.

Maxwell came up with the idea of an energy bar after he had to drop out of a 26.2-mile marathon race at the 21-mile mark _ about the point where experts say the body ceases burning carbohydrates and begins burning muscle tissue.

That’s a shame.

One suspects MSNBC intended the headline to be ironic. Another health nut dying from a heart attack quite young, while many a fat couch potato lives on. But all a healthy lifestyle does is increase one’s odds. The piece doesn’t really have much information but I’d presume that Maxwell had some congenital problem with his heart.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kate says:

    The further they travel down the trail of molecular genetics, the more they discover is due to genetic predisposition – the most recent, type 2 diabetes, which had almost always been attributed to diet and obesity – has now been directly linked to a genetic predisposition.


  2. Rodney Dill says:

    An older story, but Jim Fixx a well known running advocate and author died an early death. Heart disease had run in his family. He probably was healthier and happier for the time he did have.

    You just never know.

  3. whatever says:

    I knew a guy who gave up drinking, eating fatty foods and fooling around and then excersized all the time. He was in perfect health until he killed himself

    (okay, that is a rip off of Johnny Carson, but you get the point)