DALLAS — Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, who wrote more than 30 books and focused on positivity and leading a balanced life, died Wednesday in Texas. He was 86.
Ziglar, who had been suffering from pneumonia, died at a hospital in the Dallas suburb of Plano, said his personal assistant, Jay Hellwig.
With an aim at helping people achieve success in their careers and personal lives, in addition to a focus on Christianity, Ziglar was a prolific speaker who appeared at events alongside world leaders, including several U.S. presidents and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
"Mr. Ziglar was the same guy behind the closed doors as he was preparing for his presentations to thousands of people that he was when we were sitting at the kitchen table and he was reading the newspaper," Hellwig said.
Ziglar started his full-time career in motivational speaking when he was in his 40s. His first book was See You at the Top.
"He also had the uncanny ability to make everyone he ran into feel like they were his friend," Hellwig said.
Ziglar was a World War II veteran who grew up in Yazoo City, Miss., and then went to work in sales for a series of companies, where his interest in motivational speaking grew, according to his company's website.
Ziglar's Plano-based company, which features more than a dozen speakers advocating the "Ziglar Way," offers motivation and performance training.
Ziglar is survived by his wife, Jean, with whom he celebrated 66 years of marriage Monday; daughters Julie Ziglar Norman and Cindy Ziglar Oates; and a son, Tom Ziglar.