Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar dies at age 86



Posted on November 28, 2012 at 2:06 PM

DALLAS — Motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar has died at a hospital in Plano. He was 86.

The inspirational man of faith often started his speeches with "Let me share with you a story out of my notebook of life." That notebook was one that people across the country, and even the world, craved to learn from.

According to his Plano-based company's website, 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. He moved to Dallas in the 70s and eventually settled in Plano.

Ziglar was known for corporate training and motivational speeches that aimed to improve people's personal lives and careers. His company includes more than a dozen other speakers who advocate "The Ziglar Way."

In 2007, Ziglar suffered a brain injury in a fall, leaving him with severe short-term memory loss. However, that didn't stop him from continuing his motivational speaking, or using his sharp sense of humor.

"You know, I do have a good sense of humor and I can laugh at myself more than I can laugh at anybody else," he said in an interview with former WFAA reporter Jeff Brady in 2007.

Before his injury, he received $75,000 for each public appearance. He continued his work after the fall with the help of his daughter, Julie Ziglar-Norman.

Something that never changed were the things he stressed as important to always remember and keep close: family, hope and thanks.

"Hope is a foundational quality of all change," he told Brady in 2007. "If you've got no hope, why go to work? If you've got hope, 'Man I've got to work; I get to work.' That's the difference right there."

He was married to his wife, Jean, for 66 years.

"We have lost a giant of the faith who was able to connect Kingdom principles with professional life in a way that brought excellence, integrity and productivity to the workplace in the name of Jesus Christ," said Dr. Tony Evans, senior pastor at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, in a statement. "Personally, we will always be grateful to him for helping launch the speaking career of our daughter, Priscilla Shirer."

Ziglar wrote more than 30 books, including "See You at the Top" and "Over the Top."

He was a longtime member of the Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, where he often taught Sunday school classes. A church spokesman said people would come from across North Texas to attend the classes.

Before his passing, he lived at the The Legacy at Willowbend, a senior living center. The director at the center said Ziglar was always true to his values, even putting on motivational programs for his fellow senior residents.

WFAA's Steve Stoler and Marjorie Owens and the Associated Press contibuted to this report