Jason Eric Cohen, an attorney whose interest in bodybuilding led him to found a fish-oil food supplement business, died of melanoma Sunday at his Owings Mills home. He was 38.
"He was charismatic and a character you wanted to be around," said Jonathan Kagan, a close friend and an Annapolis attorney.
FOR THE RECORD - An obituary for Jason Eric Cohen published yesterday misstated his age. Mr. Cohen was 39. The Sun regrets the error.
Born in Baltimore and raised in the Bonnie Ridge section, he was a 1986 graduate of Pikesville High School, where he wrestled as a freshman on the varsity team. He earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Colorado at Boulder and a law degree at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.
"He was an excellent wrestler and was always fit and in shape," Mr. Kagan said. "He caught the bodybuilding bug while in law school and got into the culture of bodybuilding."
Mr. Cohen established a legal practice on Eastern Avenue in Fells Point and established Performance Biomedical Laboratories, a sports supplement business. He sold and promoted Pure Omega 3 Fish Oil, which he believed to be beneficial for the arteries. He also modeled and competed in bodybuilding events.
"Whenever Jason did anything, he had to do the best," said his wife of three years, Jessica Honaker, who is also a bodybuilder and posed with him in competitions.
"He believed in science and health," said his father, Dr. Edward Cohen of Sparks. "He lectured on diet, exercise and doing things in moderation."
A 1998 Sun news article detailed how his business enjoyed brisk sales after baseball player Mark McGwire said he used supplements. Mr. Cohen said in the interview that the core of his business was bodybuilders, weightlifters and fitness enthusiasts.
"It's helping them out primarily in the gym to maintain a leaner, stronger body," he said, adding that he marketed the supplements in muscle magazines and on his company Web site.
He said his products helped enthusiasts work out longer, lift more and recover faster.
"Jason was always trying to help everyone get into shape so they would live healthier lives," said another friend, Richard Sher of WJZ-TV. "Every time I saw him, he wanted to know if I was taking the fish oil capsules he gave me. He was truly one of a kind, very special."
Mr. Cohen was in the South Beach section of Miami in December 2005 when he discovered a skin blemish that was later diagnosed as melanoma. He underwent rounds of chemotherapy and surgery for a brain tumor.
"He was the perennial optimist," said his father. "Just a week ago, he looked at me and said, `Doctors don't know everything.' He said when he was first diagnosed and could not sleep, he would just start thinking of all the things he was grateful for - a beautiful wife and child, nice home, good job that he loved."
Services will be held at noon today at Sol Levinson & Brothers, 8900 Reisterstown Road.
In addition to his wife and father, survivors include his 2-year-old daughter, Carly Madison Cohen; his mother, Carolyn Steinberg of Baltimore; his stepmother, Patricia Cohen of Sparks; a brother, Stuart Cohen of Lutherville; and nieces and nephews.