James A. Corea (September 25, 1937 – March 3, 2001), Ph.D., Dr. Science, ND, RPT, was a radio personality and specialist in nutrition, rehabilitation, and sports medicine. He founded Vita-Labs a brand of health food supplement. He died of a heart attack at age 63. He was married to Barbara L. Caputi in about 1963 and had a daughter Michelle L. Corea.
He was born in Camden, New Jersey, and was a graduate of Camden Catholic High School. He spent his early years as an Olympic powerlifter and entering bodybuilding competitions. He was a former Mr. Camden County, a body building title. He was in the United States Marine Corps and later served in the United States Army Reserve.
He founded a supplement company, Vita-Labs, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey in 1958. In the 1960s, Corea was a strength coach for the Philadelphia
Eagles for a decade. In 1958, he opened the Jim Corea Gym and Athletic Club in Cherry Hill. It was the first of its kind, a full-service gymnasium, which was frequented by many local sport legends in the area. He also operated a gymnasium and physical rehabilitation facility, conducted police academy fitness training and hosted a top-rated radio show on Philadelphia's WWDB. Dr. Jim's show ran on WWDB for over 20 years, and he was a Philadelphia radio icon during his career. In addition, he was a professor at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and one of the most popular naturopathic physicians in the Northeast.
He lost his radio slot in November 2000, along with all the talk presenters, when the station changed its format from talk to music. He had been offered a new radio job, which he was due to start in 2001.
Dr James A Corea, "James A" for short, had a set of idiosyncrasies. He'd never drunk alcohol in his life, not even a glass of champagne at his wedding. He was proud of his "wheels", wearing shorts every day of the year, even in sub-zero weather. He never took vacations, rose at 4:30 every morning and lifted weights for several hours, then ran a few miles. He always ate "like a champ" and supplemented with a vast array of vitamins and natural supplements.
As a notable fitness expert, who advocated and lived the "perfect" diet and exercise regime, it was considered in the press to be a difficult message that he would die of heart disease at the relatively young age of 63. He had consulted a cardiologist who told him his left coronary artery was almost completely blocked and that he should have surgery immediately. Corea refrained, wanting to think about it. He suffered a fatal heart attack 10 days later. Corea had been sick for several weeks with what had been treated as a chest cold but was more likely congestive heart failure from two previous "silent" heart attacks. His family history was full of sudden cardiac related death. His father died at 36, his grandfather at 56 and his grandmother at 64 all from acute cardiac events. Corea never mentioned his family history of heart disease on the air and his death was a serious blow to his many fans and followers who lived, exercised and ate by his personal fitness regime. His death was compared to that of runner Jim Fixx. Like Fixx, his family had a history of heart disease, but it is possible that his lifestyle added many years to his life.