Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar dies at age 86

Associated Press Modified: November 28, 2012 at 5:46 pm •  Published: November 28, 2012

Hellwig said Ziglar "accepted Jesus Christ as his savior" at the age of 45 and "ever since, that day is what he said was the turning point of his life."

"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 Plano-based company's website. Hellwig said Ziglar moved to Dallas in the late 1960s.

Ziglar's company, which features more than a dozen speakers advocating the "Ziglar Way," offers motivation and performance training.

His book, "Confessions of a Grieving Christian," was written after the 1995 death of his oldest daughter, Suzan Ziglar Witmeyer, at the age of 46.

After a 2007 fall down a flight of stairs left him with a brain injury, Ziglar, along with another daughter, Julie Ziglar Norman, wrote "Embrace the Struggle," a book that described how his life changed after the injury.

In addition to his daughter, Ziglar is survived by his wife Jean, with whom he celebrated 66 years of marriage on Monday; his son, Tom Ziglar; and daughter Cindy Ziglar Oates.

A memorial service is set for Saturday at Prestonwood Baptist Church.