I heard Steve Edwards died today. Our mutual friend, Jon, called to deliver the bad news tonight. He wanted to get the word out before it was all over social media. Jon said I came on his radar today because he thought Steve and I were kindred spirits—which I took as high praise. Steve Edwards—he of the Jack LaLanne-inspired Birthday Challenge—was unlike anybody I've ever met. One of my earliest memories of Steve is going to his apartment with Jon when Steve lived a few blocks from me in Manhattan Beach, back when he was dating Cynthia, the girl who played Shelly on Northern Exposure. I loved that show, so Steve was already a legend in my book. Next thing I heard, he was running his own video store in Santa Barbara. Classic Edwards. Years later he would become a VP at BeachBody, our friend Jon's company, dispensing nutrition and fitness wisdom all the way from his outpost in Utah—where he was able to rock climb, mountain bike and embrace the outdoor fitness life of a workout junkie. And he finally got married in his 50s, like his kindred spirit out here in Brooklyn.
But before Steve helped launch the BeachBody express, I got to hire him for a rock climbing photo shoot in Joshua Tree that I was producing in my duties as west coast editor of SportStyle magazine. Not only was Steve a skilled rock climber, but he had the model good looks too. I dug up my old slides from that photo shoot tonight and pulled out my year-old slide converter, ready to digitize my day in photos with Steve. But as I got to the end of the batch and was ready to send the photos to my computer, the converter crapped out—broken down before its time just like Steve and the body that he was always pushing to its absolute limit.
I was stunned to hear that he had died, even though I knew he'd been battling cancer. Steve seemed to be more in tune with his body and how it worked than anyone I've ever met. I loved how open he was online about his diagnosis and sharing the details of how he was attacking the disease. Late last year when I was starting Bobtimystic Books, I wrote a list of inspiring people I knew who I intended to reach out to about possibly publishing a book with us. Steve was at the top of my list. He'd already lived a few lifetimes worth of stories and I wanted to hear them all. But I never made it happen, never wrote that email. Now I'm kicking myself.
I thought my friend was too strong, too informed, too tenacious to leave us too soon. If a guy who took care of his body with the knowledge and the diligence that Steve Edwards took care of his, what hope do the rest of us have?
RIP, my friend. I hope the climbing's good wherever you've landed.